On the night Jake Allen made his return to the Blues lineup as a backup netminder, St. Louis starting goaltender on the evening, Brian Elliott, suffered a lower-body injury and was forced to leave Monday’s game.
Elliott, who had started 18 consecutive games, was injured in the first period of Monday’s game when he was attempting to reach back to stop a puck during a Sharks power play. The puck trickled through Elliott, and as he was falling backwards his legs were folded under his body. Shortly thereafter, the Blues training staff hit the ice to attend to Elliott, who took a few pushes in his crease before leaving the game:
While there's no official word on the exact nature of Elliott's ailment, the Blues announced Tuesday that he has been placed on long-term injured reserve and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Elliott falling injured is a rarity, as he’s been the picture of health for most of his career, although he was bitten by the injury bug for the first time last season. In November 2014, Elliott suffered a knee sprain that knocked him out of action for 14 games.
The timing is unfortunate for Elliott as he was playing his way back into a time-sharing situation with Allen. The 30-year-old had been relegated to backup duty in St. Louis for most of the campaign, but he had taken over with Allen on the shelf. Over his 18 consecutive games, Elliott went 12-3-3 and improved his numbers to a respectable 2.06 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. After leaving Monday’s contest, his GAA slipped to 2.14 and SP to .929.
The hope is Elliott can return before the playoffs as he gave St. Louis a second option in goal should Allen struggle. In the meantime, Pheonix Copley has been called up from the AHL's Chicago Wolves and will take over backup duties.
Remarkably, this is yet another injury for the Blues in what has been a season chock full of them. This month alone, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and winger Alexander Steen have hit the shelf with injuries. The Blues who have played in each game this season are David Backes, Jori Lehtera and Troy Brouwer. The only other players with more than 12 games played who haven’t lost time to injury are Ryan Reaves, Dmitrij Jaskin and Joel Edmunson.