The two were teammates when Elliott led the Badgers to the 2006 Frozen Four title, but now Pavelski knows he and his current teammates on the San Jose Sharks will have to find a way to beat Elliott if they want to defeat the Blues in the Western Conference finals.
In Game 1 on Sunday night, they couldn't do it.
Elliott stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced, and the Blues got goals from David Backes and Jori Lehtera for a 2-1 win in their first appearance in the conference finals since 2001.
Some of his biggest saves came in the second period, when the Sharks out-shot the Blues 16-5 but came up empty.
"The tragedy of the second period was we spent the whole period in their end and lost the period 1-0," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "That was basically the game.
"We had to score more than one goal tonight. We had plenty of chances to do that. We had some opportunities to score more than the one we got, and we've got to cash in."
Watching Elliott make save after save is a sight the Blues are getting used to in the playoffs.
"When your goalie is your best player, it gives you a good chance of winning," Backes said. "It was that way tonight, and it's been that way through the first two rounds. Nothing has change here."
Seven of Elliott's saves came on shots from Pavelski, who had nine goals in 12 games through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The biggest save might have come on a one-timer during the second-period onslaught.
"I have to find a way to put that in," Pavelski said. "I have it and I feel it. I thought it was going in ... He's been good all playoffs. You have to give it to him, I guess. But if we can keep getting looks like we had tonight, hopefully we can break through."
Said Backes, "(Joe) Thornton finds Pavelski, and Moose (Elliott) got a leg over there and it finds a toe and he's able to stop it. Without that save, the game could have gone the other way in a hurry."
Elliott said whether the saves came on shots by Pavelski or any other player on the Sharks did not make any difference to him.
"I'm just trying to stop every puck," Elliott said. "It's not who's shooting it that matters."
The Blues scored the first goal of the game at 15:04 of the first period on a power play. Backes deflected a shot by Kevin Shattenkirk past Martin Jones for his seventh goal of the playoffs, the third on a power play. The goal came while Logan Couture was in the penalty box after tripping Robby Fabbri.
Just 34 seconds later, the Sharks tied the game with the only goal they could get past Elliott. Tomas Hertl deflected a shot by Pavelski, who also deflected the original shot by Brent Burns, for his third goal of the playoffs.
The game stayed tied until Lehtera intercepted a pass from Burns in the neutral zone and was able to get a shot past Jones at 9:15 of the second period, only his second goal in 15 playoff games this year.
"I closed my eyes and shot it," Lehtera said. "That's about it. I kind of keep it simple."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said it took a while for his team to find a rhythm, which he hopes will improve as the series continues.
"We haven't played a team like this," Hitchcock said. "This is completely different. The other two series (against the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars) were similar, but this team is completely different. This is no different than playing Los Angeles. They're a heavy, hard team, strong on the puck. It took us two periods to get even close to the emotional level to compete."
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be Tuesday night in St. Louis.
NOTES: Only three players on the Blues have experience in a conference final -- RW Troy Brouwer, RW Steve Ott and LW Scottie Upshall. Brouwer played for the Blackhawks in 2009 and 2010, Ott for the Stars in 2008 and Upshall for the Flyers in 2009. The only one who has won a Stanley Cup is Brouwer ... C Logan Couture, LW Patrick Marleau, RW Joe Pavelski, C Joe Thornton and D Marc-Edouard Vlasic all played for the Sharks in their back-to-back trips to the conference finals in 2010 and 2011. ... The only Sharks player who has been in a Stanley Cup final is LW Dainius Zubrus, who lost with the Flyers in 1997 and the Devils in 2012 . ... LW Matt Nieto, who missed the Sharks' game 7 win in the second round because of an undisclosed injury, participated in the morning skate and coach Peter DeBoer said Nieto probably will be available at some point during this series.