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Elliott bounces back, sparks Blues to Game 7 win

Chat with Brodeur helped goaltender rebound after being pulled in Game 6

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

DALLAS -- A chat with the winningest goaltender in NHL history was just what St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott needed before Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round against the Dallas Stars.

Elliott was pulled from Game 6 after allowing three first-period goals on seven shots. Jake Allen played the final two periods in a 3-2 loss that prevented the Blues from clinching the series.

But Elliott had a talk with Blues assistant general manager Martin Brodeur after Game 6, then bounced back with 31 saves in Game 7 on Wednesday, helping the Blues to a 6-1 victory and moving them into the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001.

"I just told him that he's going to be fine," Brodeur told "We just wanted to make sure. I've been through it. ... Both Jake [Allen] and [Elliott] were together riding the bike, and I just had a little conversation. I told him to get it done in Game 7. A simple conversation, nothing to it, but hopefully that meant something to him."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm7: Elliott extends pad for toe save

Brodeur, who helped the New Jersey Devils win three Stanley Cup championships, did go through it. He was pulled from Game 6 of the 2003 Final against the Anaheim Ducks but rebounded with a 3-0 victory in Game 7.

"Anything that guys says, you soak it in," Elliott said of his conversation with Brodeur. "That's stuff that will go to the grave."

Nobody outside the locker room knew who coach Ken Hitchcock would start in Game 7 aside from those who mattered most: Elliott's teammates. None of them had any doubts Elliott would shake off his Game 6 performance.

"I knew there was a little bit of speculation in the media who starts today; there was no speculation in our room," said forward Troy Brouwer, who had a goal and two assists playing in a Game 7 in his eighth straight playoff series. "We know it's [Elliott's] net right now, and he was going to carry us. He's put us in this situation so far and it would have been a crime if we hadn't turned to him tonight."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm7: Elliott denies the Stars in the 2nd

Hitchcock said he wanted to talk to Elliott and make sure his focus was in the right place, but after seeing him on the ice Tuesday taking shots, he needed no more convincing.

"Yeah, I knew yesterday when he came to the rink and stopped pucks, and we talked; I knew what we were going to get today," Hitchcock said. "So, that's what I needed to see. I wasn't jerking anybody's chain about who's starting and all that stuff. I just needed to know how he felt. ...

"We've rode him hard here and he's really had to step up. I just wanted to make sure he was fresh and ready to go. When he came out and stopped pucks, that's kind of the sign for me I already knew and he was ready to go."

Elliott has dealt with adversity during his five seasons with the Blues. He's missed time with injuries and has sat and watched while other goaltenders carried the load in the playoffs. But Elliott has started all 14 games for the Blues this spring and will lead them into their first conference final since 2001.

"It was a great, gusty effort that everybody came to play," Elliott said. "We played that kind of Blues road-style hockey. We got a lead early and then didn't really look back.

"I obviously didn't play that much in [Game 6]. I just wanted to get out there and kind of reset the button. It just takes a little bit to get back into where you're comfortable."

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