The Blues are masters of their own fate right now, and frankly, that makes me nervous. The Edmonton Oilers are now in sole possession of the last playoff spot for now. The comfort Blues fans can take? We have, at the most, three games in hand on the competition. That's an extra six points. The trick is, they have to win those three games.
That, so far this season, has been easier said than done. They did look dominant in Monday's 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, and Brian Elliott looked very sharp in relief of the groin-torn Jaroslav Halak. How's Ells approaching this season and his upcoming start? Speaking to The Hockey News, Elliott says:
"I'm not going to think about the past," Elliott said. "It's just about getting back to form."
Elliott, who had a 1.56 goals-against average and nine shutouts last season, embraced the decision for a minor league rehab that gave him needed playing time without pressure. But he wasn't accepting all the blame for his statistical swan dive.
"You know, as a team we were struggling so I don't want to put the burden on my shoulders, either," he said. "You have to have confidence that you are a good goalie, and it's not a one-man team out there."
That's a good mindset to have, but honestly, there were games where the team played passably well and just didn't get the saves that they needed to keep them in it. Look forward, Elliott, but also remember what you've done wrong and work to fix it. Mainly, please, NO SOFT GOALS.
In theory, the defense in front of Elliott is much improved. Jay Bouwmeester makes his St. Louis debut tonight, sporting number 19:
Do the Blues stand a chance tonight? Of course, if they limit the turnovers, offensive zone penalties, yada yada yada. They know what they need to do. The bigger question is: will they do it?