Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
In a marquee game between two of the Western Conference’s top teams, the St. Louis Blues not only extended their lead as the NHL’s best team, but also set several franchise records in the process.
Veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner scored what turned out to be the game winner in his 1100th career game and T.J Oshie established a new personal high with his 19th goal of the season in the Blues 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators.
While those two milestones will certainly be memorable for Langenbrunner and Oshie, they were not the most notable feats to occur on Tuesday night at the Scottrade Center.
Brian Elliot started his third straight game and for the third straight game he stopped every puck that was thrown his way. The 26-year-old recorded his league-leading ninth shutout of the season and helped the Blues tie a modern day single-season record with their 15th shutout of the season. His nine shutouts also broke Glenn Hall’s previous team record set in the 1968-69 season.
Elliott, who has now gone a remarkable 186:33 minutes without allowing a goal – the longest such streak in team history – downplayed his performance after the game.
"It’s something to be proud of, but we still have work to do," Elliott told The Sports Network after his 24 save performance.
On top of their shutout mastery, St. Louis also set another franchise record by winning their 30th game of the season on home ice. With a record of 30-4-4 at home this year, the Blues are putting themselves in a good position to have home-ice throughout the playoffs as last night’s win kept them two points ahead of the East-leading New York Rangers for first-overall in the NHL standings.
The club also breathed a sigh of relief as Alex Steen returned to the lineup after leaving late in Sunday’s win over Phoenix. Steen was named the game’s Third Star for his fine effort against the Predators.
Playing in just his second game since missing 39 games with a concussion, Steen assisted on the Langenbrunner goal and used his speed to create several chances for himself and his teammates. He also played his usual tenacious two-way game which included driving hard to the net and fearlessly blocking shots.
St. Louis faces another vital Central Division contest on Thursday when the club heads to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Central Division Notes
Chicago Blackhawks – The Blackhawks were able to break down the New Jersey Devils tight-checking defensive style, but managed to put just one shot past Martin Brodeur, who stopped 38 others in the Devils 2-1 shootout win. Brent Seabrook’s eighth goal of the year was the only offense of the night for the Blackhawks, who have now lost two straight games for the first time in the month of March.
Columbus Blue Jackets – The Blue Jackets will be hoping that a return home will make for a much better result when the team plays host to the Detroit Red Wings tonight. On the receiving end of 7-2 blowout in Detroit on Monday, Columbus will definitely need a much better defensive effort than the one they gave two nights ago if they hope to prevent the Red Wings from lighting up the scoreboard once again.
Detroit Red Wings – Already on the upswing since the return of Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings appear to have more help on the way. Johan Franzen, the club’s leading goal-scorer, will play vs. Columbus tonight while defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) also expects to play.
Nashville Predators – Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to St. Louis marked the first time since January 17, and only the second time this season that the Predators failed to score a goal. The loss saw the Predators remain one point back of Detroit for fourth in the West and three points ahead of the sixth-place Blackhawks.