When you work hard, you will be rewarded. The St. Louis Blues are a testament to that.
After playing in what was possibly the best team win of the season, the Blues find themselves atop the Central Division with 53 points exactly halfway through the 2011-12 campaign.
This happened on a night that the Blues dominated play, winning the game 4-0 over the Colorado Avalanche.
“That was a very complete game,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “A lot of really good things[happened]. We caught a team on a back-to-back and [I give] full marks. We took advantage of it and I thought we had a lot of good players. I thought that our transition game was as good as it’s been.”
Brian Elliott played in goal for the Blues, making just 15 saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season, placing him in second place in the NHL for the statistic.
“It was pretty fun to watch the guys do their jobs out there,” said Elliott with a grin. “I got to touch the puck a couple times behind the net and it was awesome just [having] the guys play the way that they did.”
Jean-Sebastien Giguere got the start for Colorado, making 35 saves on 39 St. Louis shots.
Patrick Berglund opened the scoring for the Blues, after Matt D’Agostini stripped the puck from Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey and sent it to teammate T.J. Oshie, who fired a wrist shot that hit off Berglund and found its way past Giguere at 3:20 of the first period.
“Bergie was definitely feeling it after that,” Oshie said. “It hit him right in the calf where, fortunately, there’s no padding.”
Kevin Shattenkirk added another goal in the first period on a shot from the right-wing boards that eluded Giguere.
The power-play finished out the rest of the game as the Blues added two power-play goals on five opportunities. Both came in the second period, coming off the sticks of Jason Arnott and David Backes.
That was all the Blues needed as they closed the game out in yet another winning fashion.
“There wasn’t one or two lines [or] there wasn’t three lines [playing well],” Oshie said. “It was all four lines going and our power-play was great.”
“We wanted to come out and prove that we can beat this team,” said Shattenkirk, who now has four goals and three assists in five career games played against his former team. “It’s been awhile now [since we beat them].”
The Blues’ next game will be Tuesday night when they travel to Montreal to battle the Canadiens at 6:30 CDT. This is goaltender Jaroslav Halak’s first game in Montreal since being traded to St. Louis in the summer of 2010. Coach Hitchcock has confirmed that he will receive the start for the game, despite Elliott’s shutout tonight.