On Friday, the St. Louis Blues clinched their fifth consecutive playoff berth by defeating the Vancouver Canucks by the score of 4-0. It is the 40th playoff appearance in the franchise’s history. But what was more notable was goalie Brian Elliott posting his third straight shutout, which ties a franchise record.
And now, the NHL leader in GAA (1.95) and save percentage (.934), is getting some well-deserved rest.
With the end of the regular season near, and the Blues continuing to chase the Dallas Stars for the top spot in the Western Conference, the biggest question fans have had is in regards to the Blues management of Elliott and fellow goalie Jake Allen.
Earlier in the week, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock discussed his plan for both Elliott and Allen, and has been sticking to said plan. Elliott has skipped the team’s road trip to the nation’s capital in order to rest at home, something which he has surely earned. Allen will start Saturday against the Washington Capitals, and Anders Nilsson will back him up.
After the big win on Friday in St. Louis, the Blues had to rush to the airport in preparations for a two-hour flight to Washington D.C. and due to the time zones being different, the team and coaches lost over an hour of sleep, apparently not getting to sleep until well-after 3:00 a.m.
As of now, the Blues are neck-and-neck with the Stars for the top seed in the Western Conference. Both teams have a record of 44-22-9, and both teams have 97 total points. Dallas is the second seed in all of the NHL, while the Blues are the third seed. And on Saturday, while St. Louis plays the Capitals, Dallas plays the San Jose Sharks, a team that St. Louis just narrowly beat 1-0 earlier in the week as well… another Elliott shutout start.