Blues clinch home ice in 1st round

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 28, 2013
St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wants any advantage his team can get as it heads into the playoffs. Goalie Brian Elliott and rookie Jaden Schwartz did their part for the cause Saturday night. Elliott made 22 saves and Schwartz had his first two-goal game to help the Blues capture fourth place in the Western Conference and earn home-ice advantage for the first-round of the playoffs by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. ''I think home ice, that we got tonight, is going to be something that down the line is really necessary,'' Hitchcock said. ''It might be the little advantage we're looking for that helps us along the line.'' The Blues won 12 of their last 15 games. After searching all season for a solution in the nets, the Blues settled on Elliott for the stretch run, and he delivered. Elliott allowed just 16 goals in April on 305 shots (.948 save percentage). He led the league in April with 11 wins and a 1.28 goals-against average. ''It's a great way for our team to finish,'' Elliott said. ''As the goalie, you're the last line of defense. But it's really the way the guys in front of you play and they played really well this last month.'' Elliott and the Blues were helped by facing a Chicago lineup that was devoid of almost every regular. Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane all sat out for the Blackhawks, who had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs. ''It was a weird game,'' Elliott said. ''They didn't obviously have their lineup in. There were a lot of guys over there trying to make an impression for next year or the future. They were trying hard and we had to battle through that. Saturday's setback was just the second for the Blackhawks this month (10-2-2), as Chicago finished 36-7-5 to wrap up its second Presidents' Trophy. Chicago will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round. ''They're a dangerous team and we expect a real tough series,'' Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We can't wait to get started.'' Chicago even brought up career minor-league goalie Carter Hutton to make his NHL debut. Hutton, who has been in the minors since signing in 2003 with the Thunder Bay Golden Hawks, made 25 saves. ''I was maybe trying to do a little too much at the start,'' Hutton said. ''You're pumped up trying to play, but once I realized I was quick enough to keep up and play the game I felt pretty good out there.'' Ben Smith, who was playing in his first game of the season, scored for Chicago. The two-goal game was the first of Schwartz's career. Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis and David Backes had two assists to give him 300 points for his career. Berglund broke the ice with his 17th goal just 4:33 into the game when he put home a rebound of Andy McDonald's shot. Schwartz made it 2-0 at 17:24 of the first period by swatting home the puck during a scramble in front. Schwartz gave the Blues a three-goal cushion midway through the second period, when he broke down right wing and put a backhander past Hutton at the 8:39 mark. Notes: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played in 635th straight game, which is the longest iron man streak in the league. ... The Blues won their last six home games; the last time St. Louis had a six-game home winning streak was Dec. 6-26, 2011.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Top 10 takeaways from Super Bowl 50

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Winners and losers from Super Bowl 50

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker