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Blues goalie Brian Elliott has played a crucial role in keeping the Blues within striking distance of first place. Prior to Thursday, February 18th’s games, leading the Central Division are the Chicago Blackhawks (38-18, 81 points). The Dallas Stars, who the Blues defeated in overtime on Tuesday, are second (37-15, 80 points).
And St. Louis is in third place, with a record of 33-17 and 75 points.
But despite that, and despite Elliott’s strong performances over the season, he still has a likely chance of being demoted by the front office of the organization. Although, when asked about it on Tuesday, coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn’t delve into the situation too much.
“I don’t want to talk about him,” Hitchcock said. “As soon as I start talking, something happens. Just write his number down, that’s No. 1, put it on the board, and have him play. That’s about all I’m doing now. I’m not looking, I’m not trying to analyze. Just write the number down and let him play.”
This season, the 30-year old has a 15-7-6 record, allowing 57 goals (35th among goalies in the league), has faced 848 shots on goal (26th in the league), and has made 791 saves (also 26th in the league). That’s good enough for a save percentage of .933%.
He’s always had to compete for a starting spot (or maintain one), and this year is no different. This time around, it’s 25-year old Jake Allen who has actually played in more games this season than Elliott (28 games for Allen, 22 for Elliott). He has an 18-7-3 record, a save percentage of .924%, allowing 68 goals on 896 spots.
With only 23 games left in the regular season, it remains to be seen who will be the starting goal in the postseason for the Blues, should they make it. Last year, the only in-game postseason action Elliott saw was after Allen got taken out in the deciding game six against the Minnesota Wild.
Both are very talented goalies that can help the Blues in the long run, but if Hitchcock plans on committing to just one of them, he has to adjust accordingly. Because the last thing the St. Louis Blues need is a drama-filled season, that could potentially end in yet another first round exit.