The St. Louis Blues' three-game road trip against the Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings may go down as the most memorable of the season, for both positive and negative reasons.
It ended on a positive thanks to goalie Brian Elliott.
Elliott made 26 saves to help the injury-depleted Blues snap a five-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory over the host Kings at STAPLES Center.
“I think today we did a lot of the things that we wanted — we stuck to the game plan and played a hard game out there, a physical game,” Elliott told reporters. “It seemed like familiar playoff hockey here.”
“It’s been a hard go the last couple games,” Elliott added, “so to get that in a building like this against a team that brings it every night was big for us.”
The Blues (24-14-7, 55 points) were 0-2-3 over their last five games and 1-3-3 over their last seven. Saturday’s game was the fourth straight to go to overtime and the second shootout in as many nights.
“You get it into overtime, or extra time, and you are going to win some and lose some,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told reporters. “We now have played really well for four or five games in a row. We just have to keep it going.”
The Blues lost three players to injuries — center Paul Stastny, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and goalie Jake Allen — in Friday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Ducks. Then they lost defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forward Magnus Paajarvi to injuries on Saturday against the Kings.
Hitchcock told reporters the team would have injury updates on all five players following Monday’s practice session back in St. Louis.
The absence of all five players made Saturday’s win that much more remarkable.
“It’s never easy to lose guys,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo told reporters. “But I’m pretty proud of the way, last night, the forwards stepped up after losing Jay and Paul and then tonight, again the D all chipped in.”
The Kings (26-12-3, 55 points) took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period on a goal from Anze Kopitar, but the Blues answered a few minutes later when Pietrangelo scored his third of the season, assisted by Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera.
The score remained tied for the rest of regulation and the 5 minute, 3-on-3 overtime period.
Alexander Steen gave the Blues a 1-0 edge with a goal in the first round of the shootout, but Marian Gaborik answered in the third round.
The Blues finally won it in the seventh round, on the 14th shot of the shootout, when Troy Brouwer beat Jonathan Quick with a wrister.
The Blues are back in action on Tuesday night when they open a four-game home stand against the New Jersey Devils (20-17-5, 45 points) at Scottrade Center.