Arguably no team has been more beset by injuries than the St. Louis Blues, and perhaps none has been more resilient.
With Brian Elliott the latest addition to the walking wounded, the Blues will be tested once more Thursday night against a New York Rangers team that could have some key reinforcements back.
In a season in which such notables as Jaden Schwartz, Kevin Shattenkirk, Paul Stastny, Jake Allen and Patrik Berglund have all missed at least 10 games, St. Louis (35-18-9) has utilized all its resources to sit just three points out of first place in the top-heavy Central Division.
That enviable depth has taken another big hit in the past few days. After Alexander Steen, second on the team with 17 goals and 47 points, sustained an upper-body injury in Saturday's 6-4 win at Arizona, Elliott exited Monday's 6-3 loss against San Jose in the first period with a lower-body issue.
Both are expected to miss at least four weeks, joining defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (knee) on the sidelines. Forward Ryan Reaves is also out after being suspended for three games for an illegal hit on the Sharks' Matt Tennyson.
"Seems to be order of the day of the year, eh?," coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Elliott's injury comes during one of the best stretches of his career. The veteran goaltender is 12-3-2 with a 1.91 goals-against average in 18 consecutive starts with Allen sidelined by a knee injury, and had won five straight prior to Monday.
Allen stopped 15 of 17 shots in relief in his first action since Jan. 8.
Steen's production may be easier to replace with the Blues' other top forwards playing well. Vladimir Tarasenko has five points in two games after recording a goal and two assists against San Jose and David Backes has scored in two straight. Schwartz has four goals and two assists in six games since returning from a fractured ankle.
New York (34-20-6) felt the brunt of captain Ryan McDonagh and fellow defenseman Marc Staal's absences in Tuesday's 5-2 loss at New Jersey. The Rangers were outshot 36-19, including 17-5 in the second period when they allowed two of New Jersey's four unanswered goals.
''It could have been our worst period of the year,'' coach Alain Vigneault said. ''Not to take anything away from Jersey but after what I believe was a real solid period where we had some real good looks, it was mistake after mistake in the second period."
McDonagh, who's missed six of the last eight with a concussion and jaw contusion, and Staal (lower body) did make the trip, with one or both expected to play.
McDonagh had a power-play goal in a 6-3 home win over the Blues on Nov. 12, in which Allen was pulled after allowing three goals on five shots in just 14:38.
Allen has been very good on home ice, though, having compiled an 11-6-1 record and 1.96 GAA in 18 starts at Scottrade Center.
Henrik Lundqvist has won two straight against St. Louis after losing his first four career meetings, making 31 saves in the most recent matchup and 23 in a 3-2 road victory on Oct. 9, 2014. He's coming off a 31-save effort against New Jersey and owns a 1.74 GAA in winning six of his last eight starts.