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Elliott Doesn't Expect a Warm Welcome

Blues goaltender returns to Ottawa for the first time as opposing goalie

Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 3:44 PM / St Louis Blues - Features
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Elliott Doesn\'t Expect a Warm Welcome
When Brian Elliott returned to the place where it all began for him in the National Hockey League during All-Star weekend, he was received with open arms.

Those feelings might be a bit more subdued when Elliott returns to Ottawa with the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

The Blues (30-14-7) and Senators (27-21-7) will go head-to-head for the only time this season, and it marks the first time Elliott returns as a visiting player since being dealt to the Colorado Avalanche.

Elliott, who was the lone representative for the Blues at the All-Star Game, will get the start against his former team. There would be added intrigue if Craig Anderson was at the other end in goal, since he was the player the Senators acquired from Colorado in the trade for Elliott on Feb. 18, 2011.

"It's always a little weird going back somewhere where you played before," said Elliott, who is 15-5-2 on the season with an NHL-leading 1.69 goals-against average and second in save percentage at .938. "You go into the visiting dressing room for the first time. You try not to put any emphasis on it. You try to play the same way that you would any other game."

Elliott, who was selected by Ottawa in the ninth round (No. 291) of the 2003 Entry Draft, was 59-45-15 over parts of four seasons with the Senators. His best season came in 2009-10, when he was 29-18-4 with a 2.57 GAA and .909 save percentage. But the 26-year-old's numbers fell to 13-19-8 with a 3.19 GAA and .894 save percentage last season and he was sent packing in a move that enabled both him and Anderson to get fresh starts.

Elliott's season in Colorado did not go according to plan (he was 2-8-1 with a 3.83 GAA and .891 save percentage), but since signing with the Blues over the summer, things have gone better than expected. And in turn, the Blues rewarded Elliott with a two-year contract.

"He was able to find his game," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Elliott. "He looked at things, he came back with a new focus and changed some of the things that needed to get changed, and he's been good since."

Elliott, who was able to reminisce and spend time over All-Star weekend with former Sens teammates Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Erik Karlsson, will turn his attentions on shutting down his friends for one night.

"Obviously you have friends on the other team and that's a little different to play against," Elliott said. "Off the ice, you can be best buddies, but when it's time to play, everybody knows that it's going to be a war out there. Everybody's fighting for spots. You look at games counting down now, it's getting down to the end of the season and it's going to be an important game, for sure.

"Over the break, I had a good time to reminisce and talk to the guys. I don't think I'll be chatting them up as much as I did before. It'll be good to see them, but it'll be a short stay and we want the win."

Hitchcock started Jaroslav Halak upon his return to Montreal on Jan. 10. He will give Elliott the chance to play against his former team as well.

"It's obvious Brian would like to play in Ottawa," Hitchcock said. "I think that's fair."

Added Elliott: "You want the net as much as you can. You want to play, especially against a former team. That's what makes the game fun. I practiced against those guys for so long. Now you've got a chance to play against them."

Elliott last played two weeks ago in the Blues' 3-2 shootout loss against Pittsburgh on Jan. 24.

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 63 41 15 7 191 151 89
2 ANA 64 40 17 7 189 177 87
3 STL 63 40 18 5 197 159 85
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 64 32 20 12 179 172 76
6 VAN 62 36 23 3 180 167 75
7 MIN 62 33 22 7 176 161 73
8 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
9 LAK 62 29 21 12 166 162 70
10 SJS 63 30 25 8 175 181 68
11 COL 63 27 25 11 167 182 65
12 DAL 63 27 26 10 196 210 64
13 ARI 63 20 36 7 138 214 47
14 EDM 63 18 35 10 143 208 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 63 31 30 27 61
A. Steen 61 19 32 6 51
J. Schwartz 56 20 27 13 47
T. Oshie 55 17 27 11 44
D. Backes 62 21 22 4 43
K. Shattenkirk 49 8 32 18 40
P. Stastny 55 12 25 11 37
J. Lehtera 56 9 24 13 33
A. Pietrangelo 63 6 27 -2 33
P. Berglund 59 8 12 -2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 20 9 2 .921 2.20
J. Allen 17 6 3 .903 2.55

 
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