Found March 28, 2012 on Fox Sports Midwest:
ST. LOUIS This all became real long ago: The dominant play at the Scottrade Center, the thunderous postgame cheers, the sense that the St. Louis Blues are more than a fascination after a swift about-face under coach Ken Hitchcock. A chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history became real with stunning speed. In many ways, it has all become routine. The routs here have become normal, the celebrations have become ordinary and the vision that this building can host a playoff series deep into the spring has become assumed. Yes, the Blues have reason to dream especially when playing at home. But in their climb atop the NHL they boast a league-best 105 points the Blues sometime surprise even themselves. Their 3-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night was such an occasion: They set a franchise record with their 30th home victory; they tied a modern-era NHL record with their 15th shutout, matching the mark set by the 1969-70 Chicago Blackhawks; goalie Brian Elliott earned his ninth shutout and broke the franchise mark set by Glenn Hall in the 1968-69 season. They played one of their best games of the year. "This specific game exemplifies how we want to play," said Elliott, who had 24 stops. "We wanted to prove a point that we're not going to be pushed around, especially in our own building." No, the Blues did some shoving of their own against a Western Conference rival, but Elliott and others can throw their weight around more in the coming days. After all, the rest of the regular season will be about building toward their first playoffs appearance since 2009. There is plenty St. Louis can accomplish in the five games left before the postseason. Earning the top overall seed is the largest prize, and they lead the New York Rangers by two points and the Vancouver Canucks by four in that chase. St. Louis improved to 30-4-4 at the Scottrade Center on Tuesday Detroit's 30-5-2 record at Joe Louis Arena is the only comparable mark so home-ice advantage would mean more to the Blues than most. But no matter St. Louis' future seed, the rout of Nashville gave everyone present Tuesday a glimpse of what the Blues can be in the postseason. They are capable of fast and efficient offense to complement some of the game's best goaltending with Elliott and Jaroslav Halak. They are capable of disciplined defense with little strategic error. And they are capable of punching an opponent early and pouncing late as they did by scoring two goals against goalie Pekka Rinne in the third period. This all became real long ago when St. Louis established itself as one of the league's best shortly after Hitchcock replaced Davis Payne in November. Now, the Blues will soon enter a new phase where they will try to make a championship happen. "We're not there yet," Hitchcock said, shaking his head. "We're getting closer, but there's a whole other level out there. We saw a little bit of it today, but you're going to see a lot of it when push comes to shove. We're going to have to be really good for a long period of time if we expect to win a playoff series." "The thing I like right now is that the cracks we had in our game before are becoming eliminated," he continued. "Our exits are cleaner. Our entrances are better. We've got more players playing better hockey right now. We're not carrying as many poor performances along the way. We've got a lot of good performances going on right now. I think that, to me, has helped a lot." Consistency has helped as well. The Blues are weakest away from home, but their 18-16-5 record on the road is the fourth-best mark in the Western Conference. March was supposed to be the month when they could have been exposed as a team flawed away from the Scottrade Center. On Tuesday, they could have staggered into a six-game stretch to close the regular season with doubts about their ability to win away from the Gateway City. But Sunday, St. Louis completed a season-long seven-game road swing by winning three and dropping two by shootout. The positive late-season road results should encourage the Blues, because their path to the Stanley Cup Finals will most likely include scraps in raucous environments such as Vancouver, Detroit or San Jose. Instead of fading, though, their showing on the most recent road stand coupled with a 5-1 mark on a trip from late February to early March that included stops in Nashville, Canada and San Jose suggest the Blues have the resolve to steal some games away from the Scottrade Center in the postseason. If they do, their home-ice advantage will be even stronger. "In the past, we've had a hard time getting more wins than losses in our building," said St. Louis center T.J. Oshie, who earned a goal in the third period Tuesday. "It has just been great. I think we get a little sense of inspiration when we step on the ice and see a full crowd out there. I think tonight was as close as we've been all year (to playing playoff hockey) and as close as we've been since I've been here. It's a big step for us, and now we've got to work on our consistency." The Blues will have that chance to build toward the playoffs in their last five regular-season games. They are proven winners at the Scottrade Center -- no one in the NHL is better at home. But at times, like Tuesday night, even expected results produce surprise.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Elliott sets franchise netminder record

Brian Elliott and the Blues took some Wite-out to the team's record books Tuesday night. By making 24 saves in a 3-0 win over Nashville, Elliott recorded his third consecutive shutout, setting the Blues' all-time shutout record at 186 minutes, 33 seconds. His ninth shutout of the season also established a new club high. "Three in a row is pretty unbelievable, when...

Fun Facts About Last Night's Blues Win

Raise your hand if you expected to see Brian Elliott's mug smiling back out at you from three of the four spots on NHL.com's goalie leaderboards. As it stands, it looks like one of those "One of these things is not like the others..." segments from Sesame Street. Brian Elliott more than belongs. Last night's 3-0 shutout over the Nashville Predators set both...

Elliott posts third straight shutout in Blues' victory

Brian Elliott made 24 saves for his third consecutive shutout and T.J. Oshie recorded a goal and an assist as league-leading St. Louis prevailed 3-0 on Tuesday to prevent visiting Nashville from clinching a playoff berth.Jamie Langenbrunner and David Perron also scored while captain David Backes notched two assists for the Blues, who remained two points ahead of the New...

Elliott gets 3rd shutout in row, Blues top Preds

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Brian Elliott made 24 saves for his third straight shutout and Jamie Langenbrunner broke a scoreless tie in the second period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. St. Louis, which improved to 30-4-4 at home, has an NHL-leading 105 points -- two ahead of the New York Rangers in the battle for the President's...

Blues blank Predators 3-0, Elliott picks up third consecutive shutout

The Nashville Predators were looking for a single point to clinch their seventh playoff berth in the last eight seasons on Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues. The Predators had a 4-0-1 record against the Blues this season heading into the contest. Former Predators captain Jason Arnott assisted on the Blues first goal Tuesday night against Nashville Nashville’s official ticket...

Blues pick up NHL-leading 105th point

Brian Elliott made 24 saves for his third straight shutout and Jamie Langenbrunner broke a scoreless tie in the second period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. St. Louis, which improved to 30-4-4 at home, has an NHL-leading 105 points - two ahead of the New York Rangers in the battle for the President's Trophy. St. Louis...

Monday Evening Hockey Thoughts

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC, • The most interesting comment heard about Alexander Radulov: “He tried a lot of individual moves that might work on the larger KHL ice surface, but won’t work here.” There’s been a lot of discussion about his future: Nashville or KHL. But there’s another possibility here, that he’s summer trade bait as a restricted free agent. It makes...

The Record Setting Blues

ST. LOUIS – With a 3-0 victory over Nashville Tuesday night at Scottrade Center, the Blues set a new franchise record with their 30th home win of the season, surpassing the previous mark (29) set by the 1980-81 team.  The Blues also tied a modern era (since 1967-68) NHL record with their 15th shutout overall this season and set a new team record for consecutive shutout minutes...

Blues 3, Predators 0

Brian Elliott made 24 saves for his third straight shutout and Jamie Langenbrunner broke a scoreless tie in the second period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. St. Louis, which improved to 30-4-4 at home, has an NHL-leading 105 points - two ahead of the New York Rangers in the battle for the President's Trophy. St. Louis...

Rinne, Predators blanked by Blues

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Brian Elliott made 24 saves for his third straight shutout and Jamie Langenbrunner broke a scoreless tie in the second period to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. St. Louis, which improved to 30-4-4 at home, has an NHL-leading 105 points -- two ahead of the New York Rangers in the battle for the President's...

It’s time for your Preds and Blues LEFTGOVERS…

St. Louis Blues 3, Nashville Predators 0 Scottrade Center; St. Louis, Missouri March 27, 2012 *** LEFTOVER THOUGHTS: * Veteran Blues forward Jamie Langenbrunner played in his 1,100th game on Tuesday. * He celebrated with his sixth goal of the year. * Blues goaltender Brian Elliott has three consecutive shutouts coming into the night. * Elliott has nine shutouts in 36 games this...

Blues-Blackhawks Preview

St. Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott's record-setting run is making coach Ken Hitchcock's looming decision on a playoff starter an extremely difficult one. Jaroslav Halak is expected to get a chance to make his case in the team's next game. Halak will try to help the Blues move a step closer to the Western Conference's No. 1 seed by helping them earn their first...

Blues finally win at home against the Predators in 3-0 shellacking

After the St Louis Blues had gone five games against the Nashville Predators without a regulation win, they finally showed the Preds why they are the leader in the clubhouse for the President's Trophy with a 3-0 win at Scottrade Center on Tuesday night.Brian Elliott was dominant in goal with his third straight shutout, stopping all of Nashville's 24 shots. Pekka Rinne was...

Power Rankings: Week 25

1. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 1Marc-Andre Fleury in his last 12 starts: 11-0-1, 1.55 GAA, .949 save percentage. He has also moved into a tie for the NHL lead in wins (41).2. St. Louis Blues… LW: 2Brian Elliott’s back-to-back shutouts helped the Blues set a franchise record for shutouts in a season (14).3. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 5The Flyers are 10-2-1 in March, but it likely...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.