ST. LOUIS - Brian Elliott starts in goal and will be donning a special Veterans Day-themed mask during tonight’s 7 p.m. game against the Buffalo Sabres at Scottrade Center (NBCSN, KMOX 1120 AM).
The mask, which was designed by Head Strong Grafx, features an American and Canadian soldier, the United States and Canadian flag and a “Thanks for your Service” message across the chin.
“When it’s something like Veterans Day, where we’ve had firsthand experience with the military, it really means something special to you,” Elliott said. “What they’re doing overseas and at home here, it’s hard and it’s a sacrifice. Designing a cool helmet and wearing it is the least we can do.”
Elliott’s wife, Amanda, served four years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force.
The mask was delivered to Elliott at practice yesterday by World War II veteran Charles Rohde. If you missed it, you can watch the video and read more by clicking here.
Elliott will auction the mask off at a later date, with proceeds benefiting charity.
The Sabres (3-11-2, 8 points) are coming off back-to-back regulation losses (3-2 on Friday vs. Edmonton and 6-1 vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday).
Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said he’s warning his players about not respecting the competition.
“Everybody calls it a trap game. It’s only a trap game if you don’t pay respect to the opponent,” Hitchcock said after practice this morning. “I watched Buffalo beat San Jose. I also watched Carolina, who a week ago was struggling - now they’re off and running. You never know when a team’s starting point is…we just don’t want to be the team that starts Buffalo down the positive path. The only way we do that is to play our game.
“We want to be as difficult as we can to play against tonight. It doesn’t matter if it’s Buffalo or Nashville or Boston, we want to be hard to play against. Especially in this building.”
SALUTE TO THE MILITARY
Tonight’s game is the team’s annual Salute to Military Night presented by Boeing.
All fans at the game will receive a “We Support Our Troops” poster featuring T.J. Oshie, Kevin Shattenkirk, Paul Stastny and David Backes. In addition, players will wear camouflage jerseys during warm-ups. The jerseys will be available through a silent auction outside Section 119, while others will be available through an online auction at stlouisblues.com soon. Five of the jerseys will be given to fans as prizes for making care package donations to the troops. Click here to view a list of needed donation items.
“The real heroes are obviously out there and playing for keeps on a warfield or battlefield,” said Blues forward Steve Ott, whose parents served 26 years in the Canadian Air Force. “To go out there (tonight) and give a good showing and represent the military as best as possible is a complete honor.”
Vladimir Tarasenko has points in five consecutive games (five goals, three assists), which matches a career-high for the fourth time.
The Blues are 4-1-0 in their last five games against the Sabres.
Alexander Steen has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games against Buffalo.
In his career against Buffalo, Elliott is 10-0-2 with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .941 save-percentage.