KANATA, Ont. – It took 12 years, but with Brian Elliott's help, the St. Louis Blues finally have a win in Ottawa.
Elliott returned to Scotiabank Place and made 28 saves, leading the Blues to a 3-1 win against the reeling Senators on Tuesday night. Ottawa has now lost seven in a row.
"It's fun playing against your best friends over there," Elliott said. "We just wanted to come in and get a road win. Coming in here was kind of a homecoming and it meant a lot. The guys worked hard for me."
David Perron had two goals and Chris Porter also scored for the Blues, while Daniel Alfredsson had the lone goal for the Senators. Ottawa has now scored only two goals in its last four home games and hasn't scored an even-strength goal in its last three.
Craig Anderson stopped two out of four shots before being replaced by Alex Auld, who turned away 13.
Elliott was drafted by the Senators in the ninth round (No. 291) of the 2003 Entry Draft and went 59-45-15 over parts of four seasons with the team. After being traded to Colorado by the Sens, Elliott signed with St. Louis and sits first in the League with a 1.69 goals-against average.
The Blues had not won in Ottawa since Jan. 26, 2000.
St. Louis struck early, when Roman Polak dished off to Porter, who wristed the puck over Anderson's glove at 1:37 in the first period, giving him goals in back-to-back games.
Only 1:12 later, Anderson gave up a rebound which was picked up by Perron. The Blues' player deked past Anderson's poke check and stuffed the puck low past his left pad, breaking a four-game scoring drought.
The best chance for Ottawa in the first period came with two minutes left, when Jason Spezza flew down the ice on a breakaway, with Colin Greening maintaining speed on the wing. Spezza passed to Greening, but the latter was unable to bury the puck under Elliott's right pad.
Fifty-six seconds into the second period, the Sens would get on the board during a power play when Sergei Gonchar's slap shot from the point was deflected off the outside of Alfredsson's skate and went five-hole on Elliott. It was the first goal on the man advantage for the Senators in five games. Spezza also had an assist on the goal, snapping a six-game pointless streak.
The Blues would go up 3-1 when David Backes fed the puck to Perron, who put a gorgeous backhand past the top-shelf of Auld for at 6:35. With the assist, Backes broke his four-game scoreless streak.
"It was a very nice play by Backes to get it over to me," Perron said. "I got across to my backhand and shot it at the blocker, so it was nice to get a couple of goals finally and it's even better to get two points like we did tonight. We didn't get a lot of shots, but it felt like the ones we got were quality (shots)."
Ottawa would bring the pressure in the third – with 12 minutes remaining, Kyle Turris broke free and sprinted down the ice to take a snapshot, but couldn't capitalize on Elliott.
The Sens, who currently cling to the eighth spot in the East, know that they must remedy things immediately if they hope to remain in playoff contention.
"For the first 10 minutes, they forced a lot of turnovers and capitalized on them," Alfredsson said. "We put ourselves in a tough hole again. We were a better team from then on, but obviously it's tough to do that game after game, especially when we don't have the confidence we had going earlier. We have to be better, and find a way to start better, or at least have it tied after the first. We're making it really hard on ourselves.
"It's one thing if the (opposing) team really puts a lot of pressure on us, dominates in their own end and scores that way. You can handle it. But when you give away easy goals, it makes for a tough night."
For Auld, who hadn't played in a game since Jan. 23, it was a chance to play, but not with the results he wanted. The backup insists that Ottawa must remain united as a unit in order to weather the storm.
"It was nice to play, but at the same time you don't want to go in under those circumstances," he said. "I was eager to get to the chance. I needed to start better and make sure we're sticking together; that's what's got us through some tough times earlier. We're a close group and we have to make sure we're holding each other accountable, but still having fun in practice and doing all the little things. I believe we're going to get out of this."