TORONTO - The Blues' struggle to prevent scoring chances and keep pucks out of their net has been well documented over the last month, but for now, it looks like ancient history.
Jake Allen and Carter Hutton have combined for back-to-back shutouts over the last two games, stopping all 50 shots they've faced and helping the Blues to a shutout streak of 120 minutes and 18 seconds entering tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Center (6:30 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).
"Our focus is on the little details. It hasn't been a dramatic change in how we're playing defense, but it's a change in our attitude," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "Guys are taking pride in that again and that's why we look like such a cohesive unit in the defensive zone."
"I think it's been a good chance for us to get some momentum going," Allen said of back-to-back shutouts on the road. "We've gotten better each game. We've gotten better even though there was a loss in there (against Pittsburgh), because in that loss there were a lot of positive things, and we're carrying that over. If we can do that consistently enough, this group will have success."
Personally, Allen has rebounded well after having a tough January. In his last three games, the 26-year-old goaltender is 2-1-0 with a 1.34 goals-against average and a .954 save-percentage over his last three starts.
"I like the way his game has been building," Blues Head Coach Mike Yeo said of Allen. "Obviously he's got a couple wins and even in the loss to Pittsburgh, he played a strong game. That's the mentality that we're asking from him, that's the mentality we're asking for our group right now."
Tonight the Blues meet a Toronto Maple Leafs club that was embarrassed last week at Scottrade Center with a 5-1 Blues victory in Yeo's debut behind the bench. In that game, Paul Stastny scored twice while Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko also chipped in goals. Since that game, the Maple Leafs are 2-1, posting wins over the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars.
Toronto currently sits third in the Atlantic Division with 60 points.
The Blues, meanwhile, have won three of their last four games as they try to solidify a playoff position.
"It's great what we've done up to this point, but the only thing that matters right now is tonight," Yeo said. "In our eyes, we're expecting this game to be a real tough game. They were very disappointed (in last week's 5-1 loss) and I think they're going to come in with a real determined attitude."