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game recap

Blues' Elliott blanks Canucks in return from injury

Makes 19 saves against Canucks in first start since Feb. 22

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- The St. Louis Blues played a perfect game for goalie Brian Elliott in his first start since Feb. 22.

Elliott spent most of the night watching the Blues dominate with a season-high 50 shots at the other end, needing to make just 19 saves to help St. Louis to a 3-0 victory against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

"The guys made it a little easier on me, getting 50 shots on net, spending a lot of time in their zone, playing the type of game that wins us hockey games," Elliott said. "I just tried to stay big, cover the ice, and let the guys do the rest of the work."

Goaltenders sometimes struggle when they aren't busy, but after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury, Elliott had no complaints about the light workload.

"It wasn't too many long breaks between shots, and they had some scoring opportunities, so it's just trying to stay focused," Elliott said. "And when you have been off for a month, it's almost nice to have a little break in between shots so you can regroup."

Video: STL@VAN: Elliott preserves lead with series of saves

Troy Brouwer opened the scoring on a power play with 3:42 left in the second period, Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 34th goal with 8:06 left in the third, and Jaden Schwartz scored into an empty net with 66 seconds left.

Paul Stastny had two assists for the Blues (42-22-9), who bounced back from consecutive road losses to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. St. Louis is two points behind the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference, and three points ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central.

"That's the style of game we want to play," Brouwer said. "Cut down shots against and limit them to a couple sustained offensive shifts. Guys took a lot of pride in the backcheck, and it contributed to few shots against and going the other way a lot."

Ryan Miller made 47 saves for the Canucks (27-32-12), who were shut out for the second straight game and have scored three goals while losing their past four.

"He's kind of getting used to it," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said of the high number of shots Miller faced. "He's been in a few of those this year. He's been really good this year. It's unfortunate the amount of chances he sees every night."

Video: STL@VAN: Tarasenko nets rebound for 100th NHL goal

St. Louis was outshooting Vancouver 33-12 before Brouwer finally beat Miller on a nice power-play rush started by Stastny just inside the Canucks blue line. Stastny dropped it to Robby Fabbri coming into the zone with speed, and he drew both Canucks defenders to him before passing across to Brouwer, who was left with an empty net after Miller stepped out to challenge Fabbri skating in alone.

"It was big," Brouwer said. "In Calgary, we gave up two shorthanded goals. In Edmonton, we didn't generate a whole lot [on the power play], so today was just a confidence-booster, if anything."

Brouwer appeared to score again after Fabbri intercepted a pass in front of the Canucks net in the final seconds of the second period, but video review determined Brouwer's shot went into the net after time expired.

"Just need a quicker release," Brouwer said.

Video: STL@VAN: Elliott turns away D. Sedin at close range

Elliott made tough saves against Daniel Sedin and Dan Hamhuis with the game still scoreless early in the second period, and then robbed Henrik Sedin during a Canucks power play midway through the third to preserve his second shutout of the season and the 32nd of his NHL career.

"He was good," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He got a couple looks there on the power play when it was 1-0 and made two big saves. It's a good feeling for everybody here."

Tarasenko made it 2-0 shortly after the Blues killed the Canucks' third power play, driving the net to shoot a rebound over Miller's glove. It was the 100th goal of Tarasenko's NHL career, all with St. Louis; he is the 28th player in Blues history to reach that milestone.

"It's actually really a better feeling because we win today, and thanks to my teammates to make me reach this 100 and hope more to come," Tarasenko said.

Video: STL@VAN: Brouwer slams in PPG on Fabbri's nifty pass

Miller expected to be busy with the Canucks playing a second straight night and dressing seven rookies as injuries continue to pile up.

"That was a rested team that had something to prove to their coach," Miller said. "That's the kind of night where you have to weather it and see what you can get out of it."

It's the first time since 1998-99 that the Canucks have been shut out in consecutive games.

"I didn't think we played our worst game this year," Henrik Sedin said. "We played against a good team, they outshot us 50-18. That's where we are."

Video: Tarasenko scores 100th NHL goal, Blues blank Canucks

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