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Elliott returns to Ottawa as Blues visit Sens

The Ottawa Senators decided last season that they wanted to Star.

Brian Elliott makes his return to Scotiabank Place this evening as a member of the St. Louis Blues almost a year after the Sens shipped him out of town for their current goaltender.

Elliott was a ninth-round pick by Ottawa in 2003 and appeared in 130 games with the club. He went 59-45-15 in that span with a 2.81 goals-against average and .903 save percentage, winning a career-high 29 games in 2009-10 with five shutouts. Elliott also went 1-2 in four playoff games that season.

Ottawa dealt the 26-year-old to Colorado on Feb. 18 of last year for Craig Anderson and Elliott went 2-8-1 in 12 games before signing with the Blues this offseason to back up Jaroslav Halak.

Elliott, though, has made 22 starts to Halak's 29 and was a participant in this season's All-Star Game. Both Elliott and Halak are among the league leaders with five shutouts each, while the former leads the NHL with a 1.69 GAA and is second with a .938 save percentage.

St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock is expected to give Elliott his first career start versus his former team tonight after going with Halak in the first two games following the All-Star break. Halak notched a 22-save shutout versus the Kings on Friday and was then dented for two goals on 36 shots in a 3-1 loss to Pekka Rinne and the Predators the following night.

Rinne made 41 saves for Nashville and allowed just a goal by St. Louis' Chris Porter. For the Blues, it was the third loss in four games and dropped them a point behind the Preds for second place in the Central Division.

"Obviously, Rinne played extremely well and made some big saves, but I think the thing we seemed to do in stretches was to get away from our game and try to find some cute way of passing it around him and that's exactly what they want," Blues forward Jamie Langenbrunner said.

Halak fell to 12-2-3 in his past 17 starts, posting a 1.56 GAA and .940 save percentage in that span, and has four shutouts in his last eight starts.

St. Louis, which is 9-0-2 versus the Eastern Conference this year, played without Jason Arnott due to a shoulder injury and lost the opener of a three- game swing. The Blues have lost seven of their past nine on the road and will look to win in Ottawa for the first time since Jan. 26, 2000. St. Louis has lost five straight as the guest in this series and snapped a five-game overall losing streak to Ottawa with a 5-2 home win last season.

Elliott started that game for the Senators and allowed five goals on 33 shots.

Anderson and the Sens will try to snap their season-high six-game slide this evening. The skid is the club's longest since an 0-9-2 drought from Jan. 14- Feb. 9 of last year and has dropped it seven points behind Boston for first place in the Northeast Division. The Sens are also sitting eighth overall in the East, now one point back of the Maple Leafs and three ahead of the ninth- place Capitals.

Ottawa lost ground to Toronto on Saturday with a 5-0 setback to the club. Anderson made 35 saves in his 17th straight start as the Senators were held to one goal or less for the fourth time on their skid.

"This is definitely the worst loss. It's against a big rival for us, a team we're battling with," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "You hope this is the end of it."

Ottawa plays the third of a season-high five-game homestand tonight.