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Blues could change goalies for Game 4

Elliott pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots to Sharks in Game 3 loss

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

SAN JOSE -- The St. Louis Blues could have a different look in goal when they play the San Jose Sharks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final.

The Blues lost 3-0 in Game 3 on Thursday at SAP Center and trail the best-of-7 series 2-1. They were shut out for the second time in as many games, the first time that's happened in the franchise's Stanley Cup Playoff history. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock pulled starting goaltender Brian Elliott after he allowed Tomas Hertl's second goal of the game 6:09 into the third period. It was the Sharks' third goal on 14 shots.

Elliott, who has started all 17 playoff games for St. Louis, was replaced by Jake Allen for the second time in the postseason. He was also pulled in the first period of Game 6 against the Dallas Stars during the second round.

"I didn't like the third goal and I thought we needed to catch our breath," Hitchcock said of his decision to change goalies. "I still honestly thought if we got a goal, we still had a chance to get back in the game and I wanted to give us a breath. I didn't like the coverage on the third goal, and I didn't like the third goal at all."

Video: STL@SJS, Gm3: Hertl slips puck past Elliott

Hitchcock left open the possibility of a goalie change for Game 4 on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"We've got two good goalies," he said. "Can't lose on either one, but I'll kind of wait that one out, kind of sleep on it, talk to Jimmy [goalie coach Jim Corsi] and talk to the coaches and see what they think."

Elliott's teammates felt that they hung their goalie out to dry in Game 3.

"Hertl's shooting from the hash marks, a slapper uncontested," captain David Backes said of Hertl's first goal, which put San Jose up 1-0 late in the first period. "[Joonas] Donskoi's wide open, same sort of opportunity, and then a guy on the wraparound and we're not where we need to be uncontested again. We just can't give up that quality chance. If we're going to have a little lapse, someone's got to help out, we've got to pick each other up when mistakes are made and we've done that a lot. We're not doing that right now. They're winding up in the back of our net when we're not doing that.

"We've got to be way better in front of [Elliott] and give him a chance to make some of those saves instead of them being sparkling Grade A opportunities like that."

Video: STL@SJS, Gm3: Donskoi finishes rush with snipe

Elliott has been the backbone of the Blues' playoff run. He's 7-3 this spring when making 30 or more saves, but is 2-5 when making fewer than 30. He's lost the past three times in that situation and was pulled twice.

"He made some big saves," forward Jaden Schwartz said of Elliott. "We just allowed too many scoring chances and let some guys get open a little bit. We've got to fix that, and we've also got to score some goals to help him out as well."

The Blues' scoreless stretch of 150:45 has nothing to do with the goalies or the goaltending, and that's why the players are frustrated.

"It's tough to win when you don't score," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "We can't leave our goalies out to dry like that, so it's on us now to find a way to create more offense and find a way to score some goals."

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