COLUMBUS - It was almost two weeks ago that Brian Elliott arrived in Columbus for his second appearance in the NHL All-Star Game.
But even though All-Star Weekend ended two weeks ago, Elliott’s All-Star play has not.
“He wasn’t there for no reason,” Alex Pietrangelo said of Elliott’s All-Star appearance. “He should have been there from the start in our eyes. He’s been an All-Star all year for us and will have to continue to be.”
Tonight, Elliott starts in goal for the Blues and will be looking for his sixth consecutive win. He was outstanding Tuesday in a 2-1 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, turning aside 30 of 31 shots.
Since the start of the calendar year, Elliott leads the League with a .944 win percentage (8-0-1), while also leading the League with a 1.95 goals-against average.
“The last two games, our goalies have been our best players,” Hitchcock said of Elliott and Jake Allen, who earned a 23-save shutout last night in Buffalo. “We’re playing OK, but we’re not playing at the level we want to see our game at. There’s some games you need your goalie, and we’ve had two games in a row now where we’ve really needed our goaltender.”
While on a season-best five-game winning streak, Elliott has earned at least a point in nine consecutive decisions, tying a personal career high he set in 2010.
Against Columbus, Elliott is 6-0-1 in his career with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .924 save-percentage. Columbus is one of four teams (Buffalo, Minnesota and Ottawa) that have yet to beat Elliott in regulation.
THE STREAK CONTINUES
With last night’s 3-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres, the Blues have set a new franchise record by recording at least one point in 13 consecutive games.
In those games, the Blues have collected 25 of a possible 26 points, going 12-0-1.
The previous franchise record was 12 consecutive games with a point, which was accomplished three times in team history.
“Guys are playing great in here right now,” Allen said after Thursday’s game. “I can’t say enough about the guys in this room.”
With the win, the Blues (34-13-4) moved into a tie with Nashville for first place in the Central Division. The Blues could take first place in the Central Division with a win tonight against the Blue Jackets.
“This (team) is built on depth,” Pietrangelo said. “(Doug Armstrong) and Hitch have put some pretty good depth on this team, and it’s starting to show right now. (Ty Rattie) came up and played a great game yesterday and (Dmitrij Jaskin) has stepped his game up. Overall, the guys that have been here all year have been great. This team has a lot of character and it’s starting to show right now, from the goalies out to the coaching staff.
“It’s fun to be part of this group.”
The Blues and Blue Jackets will meet for the first time this season. The last meeting, a 6-2 Blues win on Jan. 4, 2014, was held at Scottrade Center.
The Blues have won three of their last four visits to Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
With a victory tonight, Hitchcock would tie Dick Irvin with 692 wins for fourth on the NHL’s all-time regular season wins list.
Patrik Berglund, who returned from an upper-body injury last night in Buffalo, has nine goals in his last 15 games against the Blue Jackets.