NHL

Blues improve their playoff position

Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott collects his 19th career shutout.
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DETROIT (AP)

The St. Louis Blues are getting back to their effective, grind-it-out ways of last season.

Brian Elliott made 28 saves for his 19th career shutout and Chris Porter scored the game's only goal in St. Louis' 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

''The way we're back winning these close games, we're back to playing the way we were last year,'' said Patrik Berglund, who had an assist on Porter's goal.

It was the Blues' fourth straight win as they moved into a tie with Minnesota for sixth place in the Western Conference, pending the outcome of the Wild's game later Sunday at Columbus.

''We've just got to keep building on things,'' Elliott said. ''We don't have much time left so we just want to keep building.''

Porter scored off a goalmouth scramble with 3:32 remaining in the second period with this second goal of the season.

''It was just two guys, Bergy (Berglund) and I, going to the net,'' Porter said. ''The rebound popped out and I'm just trying to get it back into the crease and it went in.''

The goal came as a surprise to Berglund.

''I thought I threw away something,'' he said. ''And then I turned my back to everything and looked back and saw Ports putting it in.''

Elliott got his first shutout of the season for St. Louis.

''We're going to need that (great goaltending),'' Blues' coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''I think every game the rest of the year is going to be like this.

Jimmy Howard stopped 24 shots for Detroit, which dropped from seventh to eighth in the West.

''It was really tight, felt a little bit like a playoff game almost, not a lot of room out there, didn't feel like there were a lot of chances either way,'' Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. ''I thought we had some good opportunities there in the third, but their goalie came up with some good saves.''

Elliott stopped Gustav Nyquist's breakaway attempt by using a shoulder save with 8 minutes left in the second period.

The Blues' Alexander Steen hit the goal post behind Howard from the left circle 4:24 into the game. St. Louis outshot Detroit 11-7 in the first period.

NOTE: It was the 1,000th game for referee Dan O'Halloran, who lives in Brighton, Mich., which is about 60 miles west of Detroit. He was recognized before the game.

Tagged: Red Wings, Blues, Brian Elliott, Patrik Berglund, Chris Porter

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