Blues' Elliott stops Devils in shootout

Friday, February 10, 2012
Blues players celebrate Chris Stewart’s goal during the first period behind Devils goalie Johan Hedberg on Thursday in Newark, N.J. (Julio Cortez ~ Associated Press)

NEWARK, N.J. -- Brian Elliott was perfect in long relief as the St. Louis Blues pulled out another victory against an Eastern Conference team.

T.J. Oshie scored the only goal in the shootout and Brian Elliott stopped every shot he faced as the St. Louis Blues beat New Jersey 4-3 on Thursday night to end the Devils' five-game winning streak.

Oshie, the first shooter for the Blues, fooled Devils goalie Johan Hedberg with an off-speed shot that trickled through his pads.

Elliott, who came on to replace Jaroslav Halak in the second period, stopped Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias and Zach Parise. Elliott also stopped all 15 shots in regulation and overtime.

"You have to be prepared all the time," Elliott said. "We kind of struggled to start the game and didn't give Jaro much help. The change was as much to shake things up and get us going a little bit."

The move by Blues coach Ken Hitchcock certainly paid off as Elliott responded to the challenge.

"It's a little bit tough, but it also makes it easier in that you are not thinking about the game all day," Elliott said. "You just go in, play your game and whatever happens, happens."

Chris Stewart, David Perron and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who improved to 11-0-2 against the Eastern Conference.

Parise, Adam Henrique and Elias scored for the Devils, who suffered a rare loss in a shootout where they are 9-3. The Blues are only 2-6 in shootouts.

"It's a tough one to lose, but they are a really good team in the Western Conference," Parise said. "I thought we did pretty well against them."

Hedberg made 23 saves, getting the start as Martin Brodeur was scratched after twisting his right ankle Tuesday in a 1-0 shutout of the Rangers in New York. The Devils called up Jeff Frazee from the minors to be the backup.

Parise and Stewart scored as the teams deadlocked at 1-1 after one period with both goals coming in the final minutes.

Perron scored 4:50 into the second as the Blues took a 2-1. Perron ripped a shot past Hedberg for his third goal in two games with a delayed penalty about to be called on New Jersey,

The Devils got the next two for a 3-2 lead.

Henrique beat Halak from the left circle only 45 seconds later to pull the Devils even.

Elias put New Jersey back in front, working a give-and-go with Kovalchuk deep in the Blues end. Elias deposited the return feed at 9:12, marking the last shot Halak faced as Brian Elliott came on in relief.

The Blues got the equalizer at 14:10 of the third period as Berglund chopped a high, floating point shot from Roman Polak past Hedberg.

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