Brian Elliott leads St. Louis Blues to win over Los Angeles Kings

By Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 19, 2016 at 12:38 AM
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ST. LOUIS -- Goalie Brian Elliott is getting used to playing without much margin of error for the St. Louis Blues.

Elliott, who has started a career-high 16 consecutive games since Jake Allen was injured on Jan. 8, has been the difference for the Blues night after night during that stretch and that was the case again Thursday night.

He stopped 34 of 35 shots by the Los Angeles Kings and was rewarded with the win on an overtime goal from left winger Jaden Schwartz 1:39 into the extra session which gave the Blues a 2-1 victory.

Elliott has gone 11-3-2 in that 16-game stretch. He has allowed nine goals total in his last six games, and the Blues won their third consecutive game by a 2-1 score.

In their last 11 games, the Blues have been held to two or fewer goals nine times yet have gone 7-2-2 in that stretch because of Elliott's play in net.

Schwartz scored the winning goal just 29 seconds after Elliott made a spectacular glove save on left winger Milan Lucic, who was wide open in front of the Blues' net after defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk fell down on the play.

"All you are trying to do is play the 2-on-1 honest and I just tried to get over," Elliott said. "I didn't know if I was there, I kind of let the body do the work and it ended up in the glove.

"The 3-on-3 mentality is that you have to have one big save to win. That's what you are trying to do, say this is your opportunity to make it and then obviously Schwartz was the last man back and went the other way on the next play."

Nobody on the Blues, including Schwartz and coach Ken Hitchcock, has been surprised by Elliott's performance.

"He's been making those all year," Schwartz said. "If it wasn't for him the whole game we wouldn't have been there. He made some big saves from start to finish but obviously the OT one was a game saver."

Schwartz followed the save by skating the length of the ice, out racing the Los Angeles defense, to get off the shot which got past Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick.

"It was kind of a little bit of a scramble in front and the puck just kind of bounced and it was a race from there," Schwartz said. "(Center Vincent) Lecavalier was chasing me and I just tried to get the puck on net and I think it hit the post then bounced off Quick's back and in. That's probably the longest breakaway I'll ever have. I think it started at our goal line."

The Blues improved to 5-0-1 in their last six games while the Kings fell to 0-2-1 in their last three. It is the first time they have lost three in a row since the first three games of the season.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead 11:32 into the second period on a power-play goal from left winger Robby Fabbri, his 14th of the year.

Elliott made that lead stand up until the Kings tied it on a power-play goal of their own, from right winger Tyler Toffoli, 3:25 into the third period. It was Toffoli's 24th goal of the year but only his second in the last 13 games.

Quick was almost as good as Elliott, stopping 30 of 32 St. Louis shots.

The Kings had to play the last two periods and overtime without one of their leading scorers, center Anze Kopitar, who left the game late in the first period with what was said to be a recurring lower-body injury.

"It was a fun hockey game to be a part of, obviously wasn't the outcome we wanted," said defenseman Drew Doughty. "That was a man's game out there tonight. ... We need to come out on top of those. We're sick of losing right now. We've got to get off this losing streak."

The Kings' biggest problem has been on offense, having scored a total of two goals in their last three games. Elliott had something to do with shutting them down on Thursday night.

"We had our chances obviously Elliott made some nice saves, but we've got to bury some of our chances," Toffoli said.

NOTES: Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said LW Jaden Schwartz will need to play two or three more games before the team starts putting him on the power play and penalty kill. Thursday night's game was the fourth for Schwartz since returning from a broken ankle. ... Jordan Binnington served as Blues backup goalie after being recalled from Chicago of the AHL. G Jake Allen (knee) resumed practicing but is still not ready to play. ... C Andy Andreoff and D Jamie McBain returned to the Kings' lineup. C Nick Shore and D Kevin Gravel were healthy scratches. ... The Kings conclude a season-long, seven-game road trip on Saturday in Nashville before playing eight of their next nine games at home, with the only road trip to Anaheim. ... The Blues play at Arizona on Saturday night.

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