The St. Louis Blues are one of those teams that if you don't strike on them early, you'll have a heck of a time taking them out of their element this season. Once again, this proved to be true on Sunday, as the Blues defeated the Phoenix Coyotes, 4-0, scoring three goals in the final period.
Both teams spent the first period getting adjusted, but it didn't take long in the second, as Alex Pietrangelo shot past a heavily-screened Jason LaBarbera 33 seconds in on the Blues' second power play of the game.
With the tone set, the Blues strengthened their defensive chokehold on the Coyotes with some offense in the third period. Also fairly early into the period, after Kevin Shattenkirk fired a slapshot on the power play, a deflection from David Backes found its way to the back of the net for the initial insurance goal.
Patrik Berglund tapped in his 18th of the season after Shattenkirk missed the initial shot on a play that originated as a two-on-one. Just 1:35 later, Ryan Reaves tipped in a goal of his own, putting the Blues up 4-0. Not the best way for Phoenix's Derek Morris to celebrate his 1,000th career game.
The game was pretty decided in the third, but Brian Elliott certainly solidified his shutout bid with 4:06 left, stopping a series of shots that started from the point and ended with a backhand from Mikkel Boedker. Elliott now has eight shutouts this season, and St. Louis as a whole is now one shutout back of the NHL record, held by the 1969-70 Chicago Blackhawks, who had 15 total shutouts.
While it was an all-around perfect game for the Blues, Alexander Steen, who played in his first game Sunday night since missing 39 games recovering from a concussion, left with just under three minutes left after an awkward collision with Alexandre Bolduc.
Phoenix is still in playoff position after Sunday's loss, but it will not play until Thursday, when the Coyotes face the San Jose Sharks, who are currently ninth.