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Missing line, slumping goalie can't keep Blues from contending in Western Conference

The St. Louis Blues are among the top teams in the Western Conference even without an entire line for an extended stretch and with an All-Star goalie benched indefinitely.

Vladimir Tarasenko was among the top rookies early but has missed 10 games with a concussion. Two-way standout Alex Steen returned from a shoulder injury with a goal and two assists Thursday, but speedy Andy McDonald remains out.

It's anybody's guess when Brian Elliott, part of a goalie tandem that led the NHL with 15 shutouts last season, will get another chance given he's saddled with a 3-6-1 record and a 3.65 goals-against average.

Somehow, the bottom has not fallen out behind rookie goalie Jake Allen.