Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Set Team Shutout Mark with Fourth in a Row

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Set Team Shutout Mark with Fourth in a Row

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * The Blues got their first look at the Washington Capitals, the hands-down best team in the NHL this season, and treated them just like they've treated everyone else the past eight days. Another game, another shutout.

The Blues extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-0 win over the Capitals, who were on the brink of clinching the Presidents' Trophy for the best overall record in the league. It was the Blues who controlled the game on Saturday, thanks to some more opportunistic scoring from unexpected places, and some masterful goaltending by Jake Allen, who in his first game since March 16, kept going right where Brian Elliott, who had posted three straight shutouts, had before getting the day off.

Allen stopped all 32 shots he faced as the Blues posted a franchise record fourth consecutive shutout and set the team mark for consecutive scoreless minutes at 240:18. The previous record of 215:56 dated from 2011-12, when Elliott had a run of three straight shutouts. It was Allen's sixth shutout this season. And also only the 11th time in NHL history a team has had four straight shutouts.

"'Snake' (Allen) was phenomenal," said Paul Stastny, who had two assists. "There's so much I could say about both of those goalies. Throughout the year when we're playing our best we're giving up chances and they're letting us take chances. Today early on they had a couple of chances off turnovers where they had quick point-blank chances and Snake just read it well, controlled the rebounds. Even when it was 2-0, 3-0, we turned it over a few times, he held his ground. He played great. It can be tough a bit because he's been watching lately and (Elliott) has been playing unbelievable. It's that internal competition that sometimes can be bad for you and sometimes can be good. These guys have found competitive to be a good standpoint that benefits the team."

"Man, the goalies have been just outstanding," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They've been the story all year. They're what's kept us afloat all year and they're doing it again. We missed three really good players tonight and they're doing it again for us. They are the story of the team this year and they're keeping us afloat again."

The win keeps the Blues even on points, though behind in the tiebreaker, with Dallas atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings. And the Blues did it in a showdown of the league's two best teams in the kind of game that serves as a valuable measuring stick, with the Blues playing without two of their top four defensemen, Jay Bouwmeester and Carl Gunnarsson, who are injured. The Blues are also without Alexander Steen and Steve Ott, though both are expected back soon.

Allen showed no rust in his longest layoff when healthy this season. He said the break had been good for him, allowing him to get some rest, and that was clearly the case, as he was on top of his game from the start. …

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