Alex Steen, Brian Elliott lead Blues to 4-0 win over Flames, who fall out of playoff spot



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CALGARY, Alberta — Brian Elliott provided the latest solid goaltending performance for the St. Louis Blues.

Elliott made 25 saves to lead St. Louis to a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. It was the Blues' third shutout in four games.

Two of those blankings have been by Elliott, who has five on the season and 21 since joining the Blues. He moved ahead of former St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak and into first place on the team's career list.

"It's pretty cool. Looking back right now on my career, I'm not here for that long, and I never thought I'd be in St. Louis," said Elliott (24-11-2). "It has a lot to do with how our team plays the past four years.

"Great attention to detail, and guys sacrificing in front of me, blocking shots like you saw tonight."

The Blues held the territorial edge for much of the first half of the game, but it remained scoreless until Alex Steen scored the first of his two goals at 11:32 of the second period.

"Our goaltending has really been the story for the last 10 days or so. These guys have given us a chance to win every night, and it's a really good sign," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Things are amping up. Our checking is back to the level where it was at previously, and we've got some firepower to score goals.

"You saw the firepower today. When we're on top of things, it's hard to shut down three lines."

Jori Lehtera and David Backes also scored for St. Louis, which won for the fifth time in six games and moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Division — one point ahead on Nashville.

The Blues are in a three-way tie for first overall in the NHL with the Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers.

"Our goalies have been outstanding when we've been giving up chances, especially today," Steen said. "Second period today our line gives up one or two glorious chances from the middle there, a shot and then the rebound. (Elliott) comes up huge."

Jonas Hiller made 22 saves to fall to 21-18-4 for Calgary, which tumbled out of a Western Conference playoff spot after Winnipeg beat San Jose earlier Tuesday. The Flames entered in third place in the Pacific Division.

"That's probably the best team, the deepest team that we've played lately," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I'd rarely say after a 4-0 loss we played a decent game, but I felt that our guys battled hard."

Calgary is even with Los Angeles in points, but the Kings are third in the Pacific because they have played one fewer game.

Lehtera's goal 1:18 into the second period gave the Blues some breathing room.

"When you're playing a team as well-coached as them, a big, strong veteran team, you can't give them that two-goal lead like we did. We paid the price for it," Flames center Joe Colborne said. "They're a good team. There's a reason they're up near the top of the conference like they should be."

Steen put the game away at 9:38 with another perfect shot. He drove a slap shot just inside the goal post off a faceoff.

After going 13 games without a goal, Steen has three in the last two games and 22 this season.

NOTES: Backlund's eight-game scoring streak was snapped. ... Barret Jackman was a healthy scratch for the Blues, missing his first game of the season. Only Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko have played in all 70 games. ... Calgary D Kris Russell played in his 500th NHL game. ... The Flames gave up an empty-net goal for the first time this season. They have scored nine.

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