ST. LOUIS – Blues goalie Brian Elliott has had runs like this before. That’s why he knows it could end just as abruptly as it started.
Elliott made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season in St. Louis’ 2-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Friday night.
“I just try to stay even-keeled, not really get up on yourself. Those things can sneak through just the same,” he said. “I try not to really think about it. You can be playing the same way and not getting the wins or results. You just try to keep it rolling when you can.”
David Backes had a goal and an assist for St. Louis.
Elliott improved his record to 9-1 on the season and he leads the league in goals-against average at 1.34, save percentage at .951 and he’s now tied with four others for the league lead in shutouts.
“Lights out … both goalies (including Jaroslav Halak) have been,” said Blues defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, who also scored.
“He’s making saves he has no business making,” Backes said of Elliott. “When you’ve got that behind you, it gives you confidence to make a few more plays in front of him. … Kudos to him.”
The Blues are 6-1-2 since Ken Hitchcock took over as coach.
“We got two major goals from our top players, we got a great goaltending display and our fourth line was terrific,” Hitchcock said. “That was the difference. It wasn’t clean, it wasn’t pretty. It was a really physical, hard game again. We seem to be in a lot of these games right now where they feel like playoff games.”
Miikka Kiprusoff made 22 saves for the Flames, who have been blanked three times now in 21 games.
“The positives are we played a hard game here tonight,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. “We played hard, we had opportunities to capitalize. You’ve got to build off those things. You can’t sit around and dwell on them.
“We gave a short-handed goal, we missed some opportunities. … You can’t dwell on the negatives. No one’s feeling sorry for us so we certainly can’t. We have to stay together as a group and keep pushing ahead and keep that attitude where it needs to be and we will get through it.”
It was not the type of effort the Flames were too disappointed with, they just ran into a hot goaltender.
“He just kept the puck out,” Flames captain Jarome Iginla said of Elliott. “I know he’s been playing well all year and he continued that against us tonight. We’d always like a few more chances but the ones we did have, he made some very good saves.”
Backes gave the Blues a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal, powering his way past Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie and lifting a shot over Kiprusoff’s glove 10:39 into the game.
“Just keep your legs going,” Backes said. “Hopefully, if worse comes to worse, you get a stride on a guy and he hauls you down and you play four-on-four. All of the sudden, there was a little open ice in front of me and I just tried to get a shot to the top half of the net and found a little twine there.”
Elliott stopped Brendan Morrison in tight, then thwarting breakaway attempts by Iginla and Alex Tanguay.
Pietrangelo gave the Blues a two-goal cushion when he put Alex Steen’s feed from the slot into the top of the net past Kiprusoff with 6:43 to play. Backes won the puck in the corner on a big check of Flames defenceman Chris Butler, then got it to Steen, who found Pietrangelo.
“Good timing again,” Pietrangelo said. “Obviously another great pass by (Steen). A good heads-up play. I almost fell down there. Kind of a funny play, but I was able to get it to the back of then net. … We’re feeling pretty good in here right now. It wasn’t our best game, but we got away with two points.”
NOTES: Backes now has four goals in five games after scoring four times in the first 17. He also has six points in five games. … The Flames picked up LW Blake Comeau off waivers from the New York Islanders Friday. He arrived in St. Louis in time to make his Flames debut. … Blues C Patrik Berglund and C Jason Arnott each have one goal in 13 games. … Kiprusoff came into the game with a lifetime record of 19-4-2 with a 1.90 GAA, .927 save percentage and three shutouts in his career against the Blues. … Flames D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 528th straight game, the longest current ironman streak.