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Brian Elliott could start for Flames in St. Louis

Calgary goaltender spent five seasons with Blues

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames goaltender Brian Elliott could get the chance on Tuesday that he missed on Saturday.

Elliott was the backup to Chad Johnson when his former team, the St. Louis Blues, played the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. But he could be in goal for the rematch at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, SNF, NHL.TV).

There won't be much time for a reunion for Elliott. The visit to St. Louis will be the second of back-to-back games for Calgary, which defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout on Monday.

Elliott made 32 saves against the Blackhawks, including six in overtime, and stopped every Chicago attempt during the seven-round shootout.

"We're not going to be spending much time [in St., Louis]," said Elliott, who was traded from the Blues to the Flames on June 24. "It'll basically be go to the hotel, go to sleep, get up, play a game. That'll make it easier.

"No distractions. Just play hockey."

Those distractions would be understandable.

Elliott spent five seasons with the Blues, going 104-46-16 with a 2.01 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage, and 25 shutouts in 181 regular season games.

Last season he led the League with a .930 save percentage and was the starter in St. Louis' first trip to the Western Conference Final since 2001.  

In four games with Calgary, Elliott, 31, is 1-3-0 with a 3.96 GAA and .867 save percentage.

"You can't get hung up on things," Elliott said. "Your highs can't be too high and your lows can't be too low. You have to keep an even keel. I feel I am spitting a lot of common lines here but it's the God's honest truth."

Elliott's former teammates don't expect his early season struggles to last long.

"The best part about Brian is when things aren't going right for him, he works even harder to correct that," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "He takes a lot of pride in the product that he puts out on the ice. That's why he was so great for us, [it] was because in the locker room he was such a great source of inspiration for the guys to realize that working hard can really get you places.

Video: CAR@CGY: Elliott gobbles up Stalberg's wrist shot

"I think he's going to be a great example for those younger guys in that [Flames] locker room who have to take that step to doing the right things to become a winning team."

Elliott's strong play helped the Blues become a winning team. Entering the season, Elliott was first in GAA (2.01) and second in save percentage at .925 (Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils, .926) and second in shutouts with 25 (Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings, 28) among NHL goalies with at least 50 games played since 2011-12.  

Those totals came exclusively with St. Louis and helped set the example for the Blues' current starting goaltender, Jake Allen.

"Having him around for those couple years prepared me for this opportunity," Allen said Saturday. "Just to watch him, learn from him … he's one of the best goalies in the League for a long time. To be able to have him by my side was awesome.

"Right from the start of practice to the last game of the season, he's a competitive animal. That's why he's been so good in the League for so long. That's why he's going to have great success here in Calgary."

Elliott didn't play in the Flames' 6-4 loss to the Blues in Calgary on Saturday but could start in the rematch.

"I don't know what's going to happen there too," Elliott said Saturday. "It's not in my control right now."

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said he's fine if Elliott serves as backup Tuesday.

"I just know he's a good goalie," Hitchcock said. "He's very competitive. Never gives up on a shot. Guys love playing for him. For me, [players] go through this stuff all the time. I just know he's a good goalie. He's so darned competitive and he's so focused. I think everybody knows on our team how good he is.

"Hopefully he never plays against us."

Elliott said he'll be ready Tuesday if needed.

"I'm sure there's going to be emotions," he said. "I'll try to use that to my advantage."

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