Blues blank Avalanche 4-0
Sunday, January 8, 2012
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Colorado Avalanche keep bringing out the best in Kevin Shattenkirk.
The rest of the St. Louis Blues stepped up as well.
Shattenkirk had a goal and an assist against his former team and Brian Elliott had to make just 15 saves for his fifth shutout and the Blues ended the Avalanche’s four-game winning streak in a 4-0 victory on Saturday night.
“Yeah, there’s a little something extra there every game,” Shattenkirk said. “There’s obviously a point you want to prove. You really do want to play well and show them that things are going great here in St. Louis and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Fellow defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had two assists for a career-best third straight multipoint game and the Blues won their NHL-high 17th game at home and moved ahead of the Red Wings for the Central Division lead.
Forward T.J. Oshie said he didn’t know the Blues were in first place until it was blared on the public address system after the final horn.
They’re in first place at the midway point for the first time since 2001.
“That only lasts so long in the Western Conference unless you continue to play well and get points every night,” said captain David Backes, who scored his 13th goal. “That’s our goal. We’ve got to establish our tough game on the road.”
Patrik Berglund and Jason Arnott also scored as the Blues beat the Avalanche for the first time in three meetings this season and only the second time in 11 games overall.
Colorado struggled a night after a 4-0 shutout in Chicago, getting outshot 28-9 the first two periods and 39-15 overall en route to just its second loss in 11 games.
The Avalanche had a season-best run of 15 straight penalty kills after the first period before giving up power-play goals to Arnott and Backes in the second.
“We were a little undisciplined chasing our tails a little bit in the first two periods,” goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. “I think overall we’ve got to forget about this game, move on.”
Colorado outscored its opponents 13-5 during the winning streak, and also entered with a four-game road winning streak.
“It was pretty fun to watch the guys do their jobs out there,” Elliott said. “They had a couple shots from the outside. No really good chances.”
The Blues won their third straight and are 17-3-2 at home, where they played to their 14th sellout. They’re 18-5-5 under new coach Ken Hitchcock.
Shattenkirk, who was part of a deal that sent former No. 1 overall pick Erik Johnson to the Avalanche, has three goals and three assists in five games against Colorado.
Johnson, who’s minus-9, left in the first period with a hand injury that sidelined him the rest of the game.
In 65 games with St. Louis since the trade, Shattenkirk is plus-20 with has eight goals and 31 assists. Johnson has four goals and 20 assists in 59 games with Colorado with a minus-17 rating.
The Blues led 2-0 with a 9-0 shots advantage before Ryan O’Reilly finally gave Elliott some action at 12:45 of the first. Coming off a pair of losses at Detroit Dec. 27 and 31, Elliott had an easy night for his first shutout since beating the Sharks on Dec. 10.
“They were quick on the puck,” Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. “They had legs tonight. It looked like we just had a sluggish game.”
Kyle Quincey’s giveaway coming around the net under pressure from Berglund led to Berglund’s second goal in three games. Oshie’s shot deflected off Berglund’s ankle on its way past Giguere at 3:20.
Shattenkirk scored his sixth goal through, about 20 seconds before the Avalanche’s first shot on a power play.
St. Louis quickly capitalized on Paul Stastny’s cross-checking penalty early in the second, with Arnott scoring his ninth goal just 19 seconds later to make it 3-0 at 1:20 of the second.
Notes: The Blues assigned D Cade Fairchild to Peoria (AHL) after the game. Fairchild played 12:59. ... Pietrangelo has six points the past three games, four of them on the power play. ... The Blues are 19-0 when scoring three or more goals and 18-1-1 when leading after two periods. ... Oshie and Vladimir Sobotka had two assists apiece. ... St. Louis is 9-0-1 the past 10 home games with the last regulation loss Dec. 3 against Chicago. ... The Avalanche are 2-3 in the second half of back-to-back games.
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