Blues Get Set for Game 3 on the Road

Saturday, 05.04.2013 / 2:57 PM
Chris Pinkert  - St. Louis Blues

As Brian Elliott sat on the ice after being run into by Kings’ captain Dustin Brown in Game 2, the crowd at Scottrade Center chanted “ELL-I-OTT! ELL-I-OTT!”

Elliott got up, finished the game with 28 saves and backstopped the Blues to a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

“It was almost like a movie,” Elliott said after arriving Friday in Los Angeles. “I wanted to tell them, ‘Give me some time, hold on here.’ When you know you have the rink behind you, it feels pretty good.”

One would expect Elliott to start tonight in Game 3, and although the rink won’t be behind him, the entire city of St. Louis certainly will be.

Elliott has stopped 58 of 60 shots in this year’s postseason, which is good for a .966 save percentage. He leads all goaltenders in the playoffs with a 0.90 goals-against average.

“He’s a huge reason that we’re in the playoffs, and then the last two games, he’s really stood on his head at the moments that we’ve needed him, giving us an opportunity to be in a position where we’re up 2-0,” said Barret Jackman, Game 2’s other hero.

“This is really a continuation of the whole month of April,” added Ken Hitchcock. “He’s a reflection of our team. We’ve been playing well for six weeks. He’s making big saves at the right time.”

ROLE REVERSAL

When the Blues traveled to Staples Center for the playoffs last season, they found themselves in a two-games-to-none hole.

Now, the roles are totally reversed.

“It’s nice for us, but at the same time, they have a great crowd and seem to respond well when they’re getting energy from their crowd,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “It’s going to be important for us to push through these situations.

"Being able to close the series out is an important aspect that we have to get into our minds. Teams are still fresh and they can come back and bite you and come back from big deficits. We have to know we can close this out here if we play the right way.”

ROUNDED CORNERS AND MATCHUPS

Ken Hitchcock said the ice surface at Staples Center presents an interesting challenge.

“Things happen a lot quicker in this building. You just have to be ready for it,” Hitchcock said. “It’s an interesting building. Some are more rectangular in the corners, and these are rounded. Both teams are built for this type of surface so it should be a really good game.”

In another compliment for the work of the fourth line (or the CPR line, as it’s been dubbed by fans on Twitter), Hitchcock said he wouldn’t worry too much about the forward matchups.

“The matchups we’ll get will be from the back end. I’m not worried about the front end at all. Just play,” Hitchcock said. “Especially with the puck confidence we have in Porter’s line, we can play that line against anybody and not feel like we’re taking a back seat. They’re a smart, puck placement line that puts the puck in positions to forecheck and they manage the game properly so we can play them against anybody.”

NOTEWORTHY

- Brian Elliott has won five consecutive games dating back to the regular season.

- The Blues are 10-0 all-time when taking a 2-0 lead in a best-of-7 playoff series.

- The Blues are 4-2 all-time in road playoff games in Los Angeles.

- Backes, Perron, Pietrangelo and Stewart all have 3 points against the Kings, which is tops among active Blues players.

- Tonight’s game is on FOX Sports Midwest and KMOX 1120 AM locally. The game will also be available nationally on NBC Sports Network.

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