Mar 3, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) makes a save on Dallas Stars right wing Reilly Smith (18) during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
(KSDK Sports) - The Blues are hitting all the right notes and a the right time. Dating back to April 1, the Blues have won four in a row including big wins against divisional rivals, Chicago, Detroit and Columbus. Tonight they take on another divisional foe, Nashville, who is currently in last place in the division, but within striking distance in the conference.
Right now it appears the St. Louis Blues' multiple goaltending issues are working themselves out, as Brian Elliott appears to have resurfaced as the Blues number 1, and Jake Allen has become a rock solid number 2.
An injury to Jaroslav Halak led St. Louis to bring Elliott back from its American Hockey League affiliate in Peoria, where he'd been sent to get some playing time and hopefully work out the kinks that led to him posting a bloated 3.57 goals-against average and paltry .849 save percentage in his first nine appearances of the season.
It seems to have paid off, as Elliott hasn't lost since returning. He stopped all 28 shots he faced in Detroit on Sunday afternoon and made Chris Porter's second-period goal stand up as the Blues edged the Red Wings, 1-0.
"We've played a good past couple of games and we didn't see any movement in the standings because other teams were doing their jobs, too," Elliott said. "Obviously getting a win against these guys bumps us up and we have to keep building on that. We don't have much time left."
Elliott, who was honored this week as the NHL's number two star of the week, is expected to be in goal tonight for the Blues as they take on the Nashville Predators for the fourth and final time of the regular season. The last time the two team met, the Blues took one on the chin, losing to the Predators 6-1 back on February 5.
The Blues are riding a four game win streak, which netted them 8 important points as they fight to remain in the playoff hunt. Meanwhile the Predators are right on the heels of the Blues, five points out of the eight spot, with five other teams in their way and only eight regular-season games left.
On March 26, Nashville was tied for eighth in the Western Conference after edging Edmonton the previous night for its third consecutive victory. Since then, the Predators have lost six of seven to plummet down to 13th place. They're also tied for the most games played of any NHL team, leaving little margin for error the remainder of the way. This is the start of a four-game homestand, and coming off a weekend sweep at the hands of the Blackhawks, the Predators may have to run the table on it to remain in the race.
"We've just got to play hard and see what happens," coach Barry Trotz said. "Chances are very remote, but you've got to play hard. You're not going to do anybody any favors if you don't. You just embarrass yourself."
Who's hot: Elliott has stopped 80 of 84 shots (.952 save percentage) since returning to the Blues. ... David Legwand has four goals and four assists in the past seven games for the Predators.
Injury report: St. Louis forward Andy McDonald missed Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms. Forward Scott Nichol (soreness) is also day-to-day. Halak (lower body) is likely out for several weeks. Forward T.J. Oshie (lower body) is on injured reserve. ... Nashville was without forwards Paul Gaustad (upper body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body) and Mike Fisher (hand) on Sunday. Forward Brandon Yip (lower body) is also day-to-day. Forward Colin Wilson (upper body) is on injured reserve.