St. Louis Blues' greats motivate Brian Elliott, goalie up to task

Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange
St. Louis Blues' Paul Stastny gets to the puck in front of Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov of Russia in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on January 16, 2016. St. Louis defeated Montreal 4-3 in overtime. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
St. Louis Blues' Paul Stastny gets to the puck in front of Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Markov of Russia in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on January 16, 2016. St. Louis defeated Montreal 4-3 in overtime. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

ST. LOUIS -- On a night the St. Louis Blues honored three of the greatest goalies in franchise history, it was fitting goalie Brian Elliott turned in his best performance of the season.

Mike Liut, Grant Fuhr and Elliott's boyhood idol, Curtis Joseph, were in attendance Saturday night as Elliott made a career-high 46 saves and the Blues got an overtime goal from center Jori Lehtera to finish off a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens.


"When those guys are watching you kind of want to play good out there," Elliott said. "I had a couple two-pad stacks in pre-game warm-up, kind of channeling from the mask a little bit. It was special for me to play in front of those guys.

"I watched a lot of games. I was outside playing street hockey pretending I was them a lot of years and for them to be here and watch this game it meant a lot to me."

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Elliott is from the same home town in Ontario as Joseph and followed him to the University of Wisconsin. He honored Joseph by wearing a special mask resembling one Joseph used to wear.


"Cujo said I should keep it so we'll see," said Elliott, whose previous career highs in saves had been 44, which he did twice, once for the Blues in 2014 and once when he played for Ottawa in 2010.

The 49 shots were the most the Blues allowed in a game this season.

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Elliott was particularly strong in the second period, when the Canadiens had 22 shots on goal. They had seven power-play chances combined in the first two periods and only scored once, on a shot by defenseman P.K. Subban that deflected off a Blues player.

The Canadiens took brief leads of 2-1 and 3-2 on goals from left winger Max Pacioretty in the second period and center Tomas Plekanec with 6:09 left in the third period, but each time the Blues had an immediate response.

Center Paul Stastny deflected a shot by defenseman Colton Parayko 1:07 after Pacioretty's goal and right wing Ty Rattie scored his second NHL goal just 44 seconds after Plekanec's goal to send the game to overtime.

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Left winger Robby Fabbri, who had scored the Blues first goal just 34 seconds into the game, made the play that set up Lehtera for the winning goal 2:04 into the overtime.


Without the win, the big night from Elliott would have had a disappointing ending.

"It seems fitting on goalie night that he puts on quite a show," said center David Backes. "He kept us in it, it's about time we reward him with some effort in front of him."

The Canadiens had five power-play chances in the second period, including two brief stints with a 5-on-3 advantage but could not capitalize on all those chances.

"Luckily I think the longest they had on the 5-on-3 was 18 seconds and then 15," Elliott said. "We were able to win a couple draws and get it down and kill that off. They scored on one of them, but we came back with the tying goal. It's huge when you get scored on in the third period with a couple minutes left and guys go down there and work and create their own chances and bury that tying third goal. That was awesome."

The loss left the Canadiens frustrated as they saw their losing streak reach three game. It was their fourth loss in their last five games.

"We're making every goalie look amazing right now," Pacioretty said. "We have to win that game. Three to two with five minutes left we cannot lose that game. You don't point fingers, you don't say why and we don't know why. We just have to find a way to win the game."


While he didn't like how the game ended Montreal coach Michel Therrien saw other things to like in the game.

"You can't ask for a better effort," Therrien said. "We certainly deserve a lot more."

Elliott was the reason that didn't happen, and it made it a apecial night for Joseph as well.

"He was amazing," Joseph said. "He did great."

NOTES: The Blues said after the morning skate that LW Alexander Steen would miss Saturday night's game after he was accidentally hit in the face with the stick of D Kevin Shattenkirk in Thursday night's game, but surprisingly he was in the lineup. ... LW Dmitrij Jaskin was a healthy scratch. ... Steen is one of only five Blues who hasn't missed a game this season, joining C Jori Lehtera, C David Backes, D Alex Pietrangelo and RW Troy Brouwer. ... RW Dale Weise (upper body injury) returned to the Canadiens' lineup for the first time since Jan. 1. ... LW Jacob de la Rose was in the Montreal lineup for the first time this season after being recalled from the St. John's IceCaps on Friday. He played 33 games for the Canadiens last season. ... The Canadiens play at Chicago on Sunday and the Blues conclude a four-game homestand Monday night against Pittsburgh.


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