With the "STL Line" providing the offense and goaltender Brian Elliott backstopping a lockdown defense, the St. Louis Blues have been all but unbeatable lately.
The same could be said about the Boston Bruins on home ice, although St. Louis hasn’t had any trouble winning in its last six visits.
The Blues can snap the Bruins’ five-game win streak at TD Garden with a seventh consecutive victory in Boston, with St. Louis looking for a fourth straight win overall and 11th in 12 games Tuesday night.
The Blues (12-4-1), winners of three in a row on the road, open a four-game trip after defeating Washington 4-1 on Saturday. Jaden Schwartz, David Backes and Patrik Berglund had a goal and an assist apiece and Elliott made 24 saves for his seventh win in eight starts.
Schwartz has 10 points during a six-game streak, while Jori Lehtera extended his run to seven games (11 points). Though linemate Vladimir Tarasenko saw his point streak stopped at seven, the STL Line has recorded 33 points in the past eight contests.
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk’s two assists gave him 15 in 17 games.
”It was probably our most complete game of the season, 60 minutes, all facets,” Backes said. ”We loved our effort tonight.”
He wouldn’t have gotten any argument from the Capitals.
”That’s probably the hottest team going right now,” Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik said. ”The top three lines, they could all be their first line. It’s tough to tell.”
The Blues’ 1.9 goals against per game is the lowest mark in the NHL.
St. Louis, which has scored 14 goals in the past three contests, will get a test from a Boston team that’s given up eight during its five-game run at home. The Bruins (11-8-0) returned to TD Garden after a disheartening 0-2-0 trip and defeated Carolina 2-1 on Saturday.
Boston had been outscored 11-2 at Toronto and Montreal.
”I thought we were overall better,” coach Claude Julien said. ”What you’ve gone through the last two games, I don’t think you’re automatically going to turn the page. We’ve got to build ourselves back up there, and today was a good start.”
Seth Griffith and Patrice Bergeron scored first-period goals and Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots.
”I think it’s probably the most important part of going into (Saturday’s) game, was upping our competitive level, emotional level and physical play,” winger Milan Lucic said.
”It was a good start getting back on track – as far as those things went. We’ve got to keep those things at a high level for us to keep winning hockey games.”
Boston, though, was outshot for the fourth straight time.
Center David Krejci, who missed his fourth game in a row with an undisclosed injury, practiced Monday but his status is uncertain.
Defenseman Kevan Miller could also return from an upper-body injury that has kept him out since Oct. 18. He’s been cleared and will be a game-time decision.
Elliott, with a 1.87 goals-against average this season, has given up at least four goals in three of his last four starts against Boston. Rask is 1-0-3 with a 1.90 GAA in four career starts in the series.
The Blues have taken the last two overall matchups, and their six-game road win streak over the Bruins dates to Jan. 21, 2002. St. Louis has won five straight against Eastern Conference opponents.