ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The St. Louis Blues have enjoyed a breakout season and a return to prominence in the Western Conference because of their stifling defense. Now, one of the chief cogs in that defense could win the Selke Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s best defensive forward.
Blues forward David Backes joined Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron and Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk as finalists for the Frank J. Selke Trophy, the NHL announced on Monday. The winner, selected by a vote of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, will be announced on June 20 at the 2012 NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas.
—Trailing 1-0 in the third period Saturday, the Blues flipped the centers on their top two lines, a move that paid off moments later when the club scored two goals in a 45-second span. David Perron, who changed places after the switch, gave the club a 2-1 lead with 7:59 left in regulation.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said that assistant coach Scott Mellanby suggested the move. “Thank God, he suggested it on the bench to me,” Hitchcock said. “He said, ‘I think it’s time to flip the centers again, we need a different energy going.’ And it worked. That’s the second time it worked in this series. Flipping the centers gave them new focus, new energy. We practice that way and the guys were ready for it.”
—The Blues have 31 players on their roster, and with only 20 suiting up each night, it means that several who contributed throughout the regular season are left watching the club in the playoffs.
“It’s great being part of a winning team,” Blues forward Chris Porter said. “It’s tough not being in the lineup, but you’ve got to continue to work hard. You’d go to bat for those guys any day of the week, whether you’re playing or you’re sitting out. You hope they’d do the same, cheering for you if you were in.”
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I think you sensed once we got one, then we’re going to get another one. (But) it came pretty fast. It was a change (of events) that I haven’t seen really before.” — G Brian Elliott, on the Blues rallying from a one-goal deficit with two goals 45 seconds apart in their 3-1 playoff-clinching victory Saturday.