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Elliott has 3rd straight shutout, Blues clinch playoff spot

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ST. LOUIS (AP) For Brian Elliott, it was quality over quantity Friday night.

Elliott made 15 saves for his third straight shutout and the St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 to clinch a playoff spot and tie Dallas for the Central Division lead.

Robby Fabbri had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak, Fabbri, Carl Gunnarsson and Joel Edmundson also scored, and Paul Stastny had two assists.

''We got better and better as it went on,'' Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''I thought we were loose in the D-zone in the first period and everything tightened up. As the game went on we got more and more engaged.''

Elliott hasn't allowed a goal since returning from a lower-body injury March 19. He is 9-0-1 in his last 11 games with a 1.61 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage during that span.

But he prefers to deflect the credit.

''I think the guys are feeling it,'' Elliott said. ''I'm kind of the beneficiary on the back end with how they're playing.''

Edmundson said the veteran goalie was being humble.

''He's definitely made some huge saves for us and I know our whole team is trying to play our game in front of him, which is defense first and when we put that all together it's tough for the other team,'' Edmundson said.

The Canucks have a seven-game winless streak at 0-6-1, their longest streak since January and February in 2014. They have been shut out in four of their last five games.

''They're big, they're strong, they're fast, they're really well structured, their system is very good,'' Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows said. ''They made us look slow and not very good so we got to learn from it.''

Brodziak opened the scoring with a short-handed goal midway through the first period. Vancouver's Linden Vey's drop pass entering the St. Louis zone was intercepted by Scottie Upshall, who found Brodziak on an odd-man rush for the tip in. It was Brodziak's second short-handed goal of the season and the third for the Blues.

''(Upshall) read the play perfectly right from the D-zone and took off,'' Brodziak said. ''As soon as the D-man let me go back door, he found me perfectly.''

Fabbri made it 2-0 late in the first with his ninth point in his last nine games.

Elliott kept the Canucks off the board with a pad save on Jannik Hansen's breakaway early in the first and a stick and glove save on Chris Higgins' breakaway late in the period.

''These types of wins when you keep a team to about 15 shots and not a lot of scoring chances, it's not a lot of me it's a lot of we and the guys did a great job tonight and the past two games as well,'' Elliott said.

Dan Hamhuis almost got the Canucks on the board in the opening minute of the second period with a slap shot from the point, but a review of the play showed the puck hit both posts and never went in.

''Vancouver had their licks,'' Hitchcock said. ''They had their cracks and (Elliott) made big saves and we'd turn around and score.''

Gunnarsson made it 3-0 late in the second, and Edmundson scored his first career goal at 12:15 of the third.

Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves.

While locking up the team's 40th postseason appearance in franchise history and sixth in the last 11 season is nice, Elliott isn't ready to relax.

''We still have work to do and it's just the first step in the mountain climb here,'' Elliott said.

NOTES: Blues D Jay Bouwmeester (upper body) did not play won't play against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. He was replaced in the lineup by D Robert Bortuzzo. ... The Blues recalled D Petteri Lindbohm on Thursday from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League. ... Canucks F Derek Dorsett (upper body) returned to the lineup after a five-game absence.