ST. LOUIS – St. Louis backup goalie Brian Elliott may not enjoy his limited role.
He sure knows how to make the most of it.
Elliott made 34 saves in only his fifth start of the season and the Blues got goals from six players in their third straight win, a 6-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
St. Louis (16-3-3) has won five of six and is off to the fastest start in franchise history.
Dallas had its six-game road winning streak snapped.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock recorded his 621st win, moving him into sole possession of eighth place in career wins.
Vladimir Sobotka, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes, Derek Roy, Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who have won six of their last seven against the Stars.
Elliott, the backup to Jaroslav Halak, stopped the final 27 shots in improving 4-0-1. He has a 1.79 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage.
“You always want to be in there and fight for the guys and be part of it,” Elliott said. “(Halak) is playing well and I want to play well so we can move this train forward.”
Elliott made numerous key saves, especially in the first period when the game was close. He robbed Valeri Nichushkin from close range and also stopped Antoine Roussel on a breakaway in the second period.
“He was absolutely tremendous,” St. Louis defenceman Alex Pietrangelo said.
Dallas coach Lindy Ruff agreed, “He made the saves that kept them in the game.”
Brenden Dillon scored for Dallas, which fell to 8-6 on the road.
Elliott says the key to his success as a backup comes from his mental preparation.
“You just trust in your game and everything else will take care of itself,” he said. “When you don’t get a lot of opportunities, it’s hard to get in that peak performance state. I think it just comes with experience and a lot of patience.”
Tarasenko put the Blues ahead to stay with his eighth goal of the season at 11:02 of the first period, just 9 seconds after the Stars had tied it 1-all.
Backes pushed the lead to 3-1 by converting on a two-on-one. Backes, using Jaden Schwartz as a screen, held the puck before beating goalie Kari Lehtonen, who was pulled in the third period after allowing five goals on 18 shots.
The Blues’ balanced four-line attack did a good job taking advantage of limited opportunities. St. Louis had 25 shots on goal.
“Through the whole lineup everybody was solid,” Oshie said. “When we can go at them in waves, I think that’s when we’re at our best.”
The Stars were coming off a season-high 43 shots in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. They managed to create numerous opportunities on Saturday, but could not solve Elliott.
“It might be the most misleading 6-1 game I’ve ever been in,” Ruff said. “For the most part, we outskated them and in a lot of areas we outworked them.”
Lehtonen took full blame for the loss,
“I had a bad night,” he said. “I feel bad for the guys. They tried hard.”
Sobotka scored 1:39 into the game for his 100th career point.
St. Louis RW Ryan Reaves broke his right hand in a first-period fight with Dillon and will be out up to four weeks.
NOTES: This was first of five meetings between the new Central Division rivals. … Dallas LW Ray Whitney missed his fifth successive game with a groin injury. … Stars C Cody Eakin played in his 100th game. … St. Louis is 11-2-1 in its last 14 contests. … Blues LW Brenden Morrow, who spent 13 seasons with Dallas, picked up an assist on Stewart’s goal and now has a point against every NHL team.