Blues Continue Hunt For Presidents Trophy.

By Tony Moreno

The St. Louis Blues goaltending set a new franchise record on Sunday when Brian Elliot shutout the Phoenix Coyotes and got back to their winning ways.  Jaroslav Halak and Elliot have now combined for 14 shutouts this season and on top of that, Elliot is now riding a 2 game shutout streak (127:38).  Both of these goalies deserve Vezina considerations, but with each of them splitting the playing time in half, others like Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick, and Marc-Andre Fleury have been carrying the bulk of the load for their teams.

The Blues finally found their scoring touch with Elliot in net as they scored 4 goals against the Coyotes.  Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes scored on the power play, and Patrik Berglund and Ryan Reaves scored in the 3rd to put the game out of reach.  The defense also did a great job of limiting the Coyotes to only 20 shots making Elliot’s shutout a little easier on him.  Alex Steen was quiet in his return, but let him get back into his groove and he will start putting up the points.

Tonight the Blues will be welcoming the Nashville Predators into St. Louis for a big division battle.  Nashville isn’t necessarily out of the running for 1st in the division, but a win tonight can put the Predators in 4th and would love to take home ice in the 1st round of the playoffs.  Tonight they can also clinch a playoff spot as well with the win.  Alexander Radulov has been playing good hockey and has picked up a point in all 3 games since his return to the NHL.  The question is does his presence truly push the Predators to Stanley Cup favorites?  Not to sure about that, but it does boost their odds.  They too can be a stingy team with Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and now big Hal Gill on defense along with Pekka Rinne guarding the net.

This will be a good test for the Blues as they continue their quest for the Presidents Trophy as well as the Stanley Cup.  Andy McDonald is still out but inching closer to returning and Matt D’agostini is also close to a return.  The Blues will be starting with Elliot tonight, but Ken Hitchcock stated that the starting goalie for the playoffs will come down to the wire.  Elliot deserves the start tonight and may be slowly becoming the favorite.  Jaimie Langenbrunner is playing in his 1,100th game tonight.  He has been a great addition to the team for depth and has earned his spot.

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