Back home, Blues hope to get Elliott a bit more cushion

BY foxsports • February 4, 2016

The St. Louis Blues totaled four goals in as many games on their recent road trip, but Brian Elliott made sure they returned home with five of a possible eight points.

Not bad for an offensive slump.

Elliott looks to continue his surge while the Blues search for their scoring Thursday night against the visiting San Jose Sharks, who are coming off their first pointless game in almost a month.

St. Louis (29-16-8) scored 15 goals on a four-game homestand from Jan. 12-18 but had trouble finding the back of the net during a trip that stretched over the All-Star break.

While the Blues scored just four times on the trek, Elliott's stellar play helped them salvage a 2-1-1 mark.

He stopped 108 of 112 shots for a .964 save percentage, earning his first shutout of the season in Tuesday's 1-0 win at Nashville.

Elliott holds a 1.48 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in six starts since Jan. 16, when he led St. Louis to a 4-3 win over Montreal with 46 saves -- the most since Curtis Joseph's 46 on April 11, 1993.

Elliott leads the league with 190 saves since.

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"It's trying not to think too much and let your body play," Elliott said after extending his franchise record to 22 shutouts. "It's just about reacting, reading the plays and letting yourself do what you've trained all your life for."

With Jake Allen still working his way back from a lower-body injury, the foreseeable future in net seems to belong to Elliott. He would love to see the type of offense the Blues produced on their 3-1-0 homestand in mid-January.

St. Louis scored 15 goals on 108 shots for a shooting percentage of 13.89 and improved to 16-8-3 at Scottrade Center, but that number dipped to 3.92 as it scored just four times on 102 shots on the trip.

There was no shortage of offense for the Blues in the last two meetings in this series as they posted a pair of 7-2 routs of the Sharks in January 2015.

Elliott earned both wins with 42 total saves, while Alexander Steen tallied a pair of goals and four assists. Jaden Schwartz added a goal and four assists, but he has been ruled out for Thursday as he continues to work back from a fractured ankle that has kept him out since Oct. 20.

San Jose (26-19-4) was the league's second-highest scoring team from Jan. 9-26, averaging 3.9 goals during a 10-game point streak -- short of only Washington's 4.5 in six contests.

The streak was the Sharks' longest in five years, but it was snapped when they came out of the All-Star break with Tuesday's 3-2 loss at Anaheim. The surging Ducks were the first team to beat San Jose in regulation since Jan. 7.

"We had the chances to score tonight, but we didn't find a way to get that extra one that we needed," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski told the team's official website. "We were a little too cute through the neutral zone."

Martin Jones went 7-0-1 with a 1.96 GAA during San Jose's point streak, but he surrendered three goals on 25 shots against Anaheim.

Six of the Sharks' final seven games of their streak came at home, but the loss at Anaheim opened a stretch of nine of 11 on the road, where they are 16-7-2.