It has not been the best season for Brian Elliott. His work in February and March got him sent to the Peoria Rivermen for "conditioning," and a lot of fans hoped that he would stay put. Before being sent down to the Rivs, Elliott was 3-6-1 with a bloated 3.65 goals against average. You saw a lot of articles and commentary mentioning how Elliott was "regressing to the mean," but apparently Elliott doesn't know what that is.
You see, after staring the mean in the eyes, Elliott bounced back into form that exceeds last season's. He set a record last night for most wins in the month of April, both for the Blues and the NHL, with 10. He's 13-8-1 for the season now, losing just two games this month. His GAA is down to 2.34 and his save percentage is up to .905. The former stat is the one that you want to look at, because the Blues allow very few shots a game. His save percentage isn't going to be extremely high, because he can't shut out every team every game... or can he?
He can't, but he has won five straight home starts by allowing just one goal in each. Even including the terrible outing Sunday against the Avalanche, in which Elliott allowed four goals on 23 shots, his GAA for the month is 1.30. During April, the Blues have scored 33 goals in 14 games this month, with one remaining. That's 2.36 goals a game, which is no margin for error.
Considering that the Blues started the month on the outside of the playoff race looking in and are now currently in fourth place with that few goals scored, it's not exactly a stretch to say that Brian Elliott is the reason that the Blues are successful. Granted, yes, he may be part of the reason that heading into April the Blues were outside the bubble, but if you don't have him in net right now, with the way that the Blues couldn't score to save their lives in April, you don't have a playoff team.
The Hart Trophy is given to the player most valuable to their team. Rory Boylen of The Hockey News makes a great point that right now, the players bandied about in the Hart race, may not really be the MVPs of their team. Perhaps a few teams are where they are because of their goaltending. Boylen specifically highlights Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks. I don't know if it's too much of a stretch to include Elliott in that discussion, but thanks to his poor start to the season, he probably won't be included at all.