Wow, what a difference 10 days makes, huh? The last time the Blues saw the Wild, Jaroslav Halak started the game before tweaking a groin muscle. Brian Elliott came in, made 19 saves, and saved the Blues' bacon for the evening by getting a win. Since then, Elliott has won four games straight, including two shut-outs, and the Blues have won five games in a row. They're currently in 6th place in the Western Conference. Maybe that little trip to the minors helped Elliott regain a lot of focus? What say you, Ken Hitchcock?
“I think we’re kicking ourselves in the ass for not having him go [to the minors] earlier,” Hitchcock said. “We had an opportunity to go earlier, and I think he probably would have had the same impact.”
Well then, ok. Better late than never, I suppose -- especially since for a lot of teams, the end of the year is when they want to get hot. Hoo, boy, are the Blues toasty right now. The Blues haven't lost a game since adding top-four defensemen Jordan Leopold and Jay Bouwmeester, and their expertise has shown. The defense has been limiting shots, and when they do sneak through, they're visible to Elliott, so he can stop them. Offensively, well, a few more goals would be nice -- two goals in two games, unless your goalie is on a roll, usually doesn't win you much.
No Dany Heatley tonight for the Wild, which is a plus for the Blues. Heatley has tended to put the puck in the net quite a bit against St. Louis, but this season it hasn't helped much. The Blues have won both previous meetings this year and have won the past four straight games against the wild. A win tonight would put them up into fourth place in the conference; home ice for the playoffs is within reach.