You can solve a puzzle one of two ways: you can take your time, try to figure it out, and quietly solve it. Or you can do what the Blues did tonight and break the puzzle wide open. The 1-3-1 trap? Not a problem if, like Hitchcock said, you never allow it to get set up. If you check and neutralize their best players, shots don’t materialize, either.
T.J. Oshie scored the third period’s only goal into a wide open net. Mathieu Garon sloppily played the puck behind his own net while David Backes was charging directly at him. Backes stripped him of the puck, passed to Oshie, and that was all she wrote. That was Garon’s one mistake of the evening; aside from that flub, he was excellent. The Lightning just couldn’t withstand the Blues’ pressure.
Barret Jackman saved Elliott’s shut-out by taking a penalty for closing his hand on the puck in the dying minute of the game, but it was worth it. Chants of “ELL-IO-TT” filled Scottrade as the goaltender’s save percentage inched high and his GAA slid just a little bit more. He’s fifth in the league in SV% and 4th in GAA, but there’s a chance that could change. Does this do anything to take care of the “who’s the starter?” speculation? Probably not, but regardless of who winds up on top, it shouldn’t take away from the outstanding season that Elliott has had thus far.
The Blues next take to the ice on Tuesday night, as the homestand continues with the Detroit Red Wings, who sit two points ahead of the Blues in the standings.