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Weekly Primer

Blues seek fifth straight shutout, Central Division

Brian Elliott, Jake Allen propelling St. Louis; Capitals seek Presidents' Trophy

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Allen's 32-save shutout

STL@WSH: Allen backstops Blues to franchise record

3/26/16: Jake Allen makes 32 saves in a 4-0 win, leading the Blues to their fourth consecutive shutout, a new franchise record

  • 01:32 •

Even without one of their top defensemen, the St. Louis Blues still aren't allowing any goals.

The Blues were missing Jay Bouwmeester on Saturday, but that didn't prevent them from their fourth straight shutout, a 4-0 win against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Saturday.

St. Louis, which has won four in a row, hasn't allowed a goal in 240:18, a franchise record. Brian Elliott got the first three shutouts before Jake Allen was perfect in Washington.

It's the 11th time in NHL history a team has had four straight shutouts. St. Louis is the first since the Phoenix Coyotes had five straight Dec. 31, 2003, through Jan. 9, 2004, to set a modern NHL record.

"The goalies have been just outstanding," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They've been the story all year. They're what have kept us afloat all year and they're doing it again."

The Blues will continue their push for the Central Division crown and go for their fifth straight shutout when they face the Colorado Avalanche at Scottrade Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN).

It is unknown if Bouwmeester will be able to play; he's day-to-day because of an upper-body injury. Colorado is expected to be without forwards Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon because of knee injuries.

Here are other games that should garner plenty of attention:

Monday, March 28: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SNE, SNP) -- The Sharks will try to put an end to a three-game losing streak and clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they face the Kings at SAP Center. Los Angeles remained three points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks atop the Pacific Division with a 6-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 29: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild (8 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, FS-N, NHL.TV) -- Led by goalie Devan Dubnyk, the Wild have won five in a row and built a five-point lead on the Avalanche for the second wild card from the Western Conference. Chicago avoided a three-game skid with a 4-1 win at the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 29: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-SW, NHL.TV) -- Nashville quietly continues to be one of the top teams in the NHL during the second half of the season; including a 5-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, the Predators are 14-2-5 since Feb. 12. Forward Filip Forsberg has 17 goals in his past 25 games; James Neal has nine goals in 12 games this month. Dallas is 6-2-2 in its past 10 games to keep pace with St. Louis atop the Central Division.

Wednesday, March 30: Washington Capitals at Philadelphia Flyers (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360) -- The Capitals were denied in their bid to clinch the Presidents' Trophy when they lost to the Blues on Saturday, but they'll likely finish the job this week. The Flyers are in a heated battle for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference with the Detroit Red Wings; each has 85 points, though Philadelphia has a game in hand. 

Saturday, April 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Islanders (1 p.m. ET; ROOT, MSG+, SN, NHL.TV) -- Third place is still up for grabs in the Metropolitan Division, with the Penguins and the Islanders the most likely options to finish there. Pittsburgh has a three-point lead on New York, with the Islanders having a game in hand. Penguins forward Phil Kessel had five points (one goal, four assists) in a 7-2 win against Detroit on Saturday. Pittsburgh has won eight of nine following its 3-2 overtime victory at the New York Rangers on Sunday.

Saturday, April 2: Dallas Stars at Los Angeles Kings (4 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-W, SN1, NHL.TV) -- Two of the top teams in the West go head-to-head at Staples Center. The Stars have won three of four since top center Tyler Seguin sustained an Achilles tendon injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on March 17.

Sunday, April 3: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks (12:30 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN) -- Zdeno Chara scored for the first time in 21 games and the Bruins ended a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday to remain three points ahead of Detroit for third place in the Atlantic. It was the first time Boston had gone five games without a point since 2010.

Sunday, April 3: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins (5 p.m. ET; CSN-PH, ROOT, NHL.TV) -- "The Battle of Pennsylvania" resumes at Consol Energy Center, where the Flyers likely will be desperate for points to remain in the wild card hunt. Philadelphia went 2-1-1 on a four-game road trip that ended with a 2-1 loss at the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Erik Haula, Minnesota Wild -- Haula has been solid for the Wild in his second full NHL season. He extended his point streak to eight games Saturday (three goals, five assists) and has 31 points in 70 games this season after having seven goals and seven assists in 72 games in 2014-15.

Jussi Jokinen, Florida Panthers -- Jokinen's recent play is helping the Panthers, who are in a battle with the Lightning for the Atlantic Division title. The 32-year-old has three multi-point efforts during a five-game point streak and is tied with Jaromir Jagr for the team lead in scoring at 58 points.

Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers -- One really has to wonder where the rookie would be in the NHL scoring race had he not missed three months because of a fractured clavicle. McDavid extended his point streak to seven games Saturday and has 45 points in 41 games. McDavid, 19, has had 11 multi-point games this season.

POINT SHOTS
Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck had the game-tying and winning goals in New York's 4-3 overtime victory at the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Five of Clutterbuck's 15 goals this season are game-winners. … Minnesota's power play is clicking at 25 percent in John Torchetti's 21 games as coach. The penalty kill is 24-for-25 in its past 10. … It's an extremely difficult season for the Montreal Canadiens, particularly captain Max Pacioretty. But he's confident he and his teammates will benefit from these trying times in the long run. "I will be better from this. We all will be better from this," Pacioretty said. "Sometimes, humility is a very good thing, whether it's what people are saying about you or your numbers or the way you've performed or questions you even get asked. In the moment, obviously, it's frustrating. I just got asked whether I'm sick or injured -- you know what they're going to write about when you get asked that question. I'm used to it now. But at the end of the day, you go home in the summer, enjoy your family and start from scratch. You're just that much tougher and you're ready for many more obstacles when the next season comes."

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