Stingy Blues shut down Penguins
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Elliott stopped all 33 shots he faced and St. Louis turned in a textbook defensive effort in a 1-0 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.
Elliott's whitewash was the fourth of the season and his 16th with the franchise, tying him with Hall of Fame netminder Glenn Hall for second on the club's all-time list.
David Backes recorded the lone score of the contest for the Blues, who recovered from losses in Chicago and Philadelphia to win for the ninth time in 12 March outings.
St. Louis also moved into a tie with idle Boston for the most points in the NHL at 103.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves for the Penguins, who were blanked on home ice for the first time since a similar result against Colorado on Oct. 21.
Shortly after letting a power-play chance fall by the wayside, the Blues picked up the game's first goal.
Evgeni Malkin was in the box for a high stick, and had exited when Alex Steen fired a rolling puck from the point which sailed through a screen set up by T.J. Oshie in the slot. The puck was tipped by Backes in front and caromed off Fleury's glove before settling into the net at 11:20 of the third period.
Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester tripped Malkin and was banished with 4:44 to play, but Fleury needed to make two stops and the Blues formed a wall around Elliott for the duration.
Fleury went to the bench for an extra skater with 1:20 left, but James Neal's shot from the right side with 16.3 seconds left was Pittsburgh's best and last chance.
Despite a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Penguins enjoyed 1:38 of a 5-on-3 advantage bridging the first and second periods after Oshie and Jaden Schwartz were whistled for infractions 22 seconds apart.
St. Louis closed ranks, though, and allowed a few shots on goal which were not quality chances.
The hosts failed to click on two more power plays and the Blues on their lone advantage to maintain the deadlock.
Elliott halted 23 shots and Fleury was good on 18 chances heading to the final period.
St. Louis has won four of its last six games in Pittsburgh since January of 2002, and has taken both meetings against the Pens in their new arena ... Blues forward Derek Roy was scratched with a lower-body injury ... Fleury has been stuck on 34 wins since blanking the Capitals on March 11 ... St. Louis upped its record against Eastern Conference foes to 20-5-1.
03/23 16:14:23 ET