Blues try to stay in first as they battle Wild

( - The St. Louis Blues try to maintain at least a share of first place in the Central Division on Saturday night as they put an 11-game home point streak over the Minnesota Wild on the line.

The Blues have won three in a row and are 5-1-1 over their past seven games following a 1-0 shootout victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday. That win moved St. Louis into a tie for first place in the standings with Nashville, though the Blues have two games in hand over the Predators, who visit the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.

Goaltender Brian Elliott and head coach Ken Hitchcock both reached milestones with Thursday's victory. Elliott matched a club record with his 20th shutout since joining the Blues, while Hitchcock became the fourth coach in NHL history to reach 700 regular-season victories.

Elliott, who is expected to start again tonight, made 28 saves through overtime and was backed in the shootout by goals from T.J. Oshie and Vladimir Tarasenko.

"It's a whole team thing. You're not out there alone," said Elliott, who has four shutouts this season and 29 in his career.

Hitchcock, meanwhile, improved to 167-74-25 since becoming head coach of the Blues. He also has had coaching stints with Dallas, Philadelphia and Columbus, and joined Scotty Bowman (1,244, Al Arbour (782) and current Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville (745) in the 700-win club.

"It's been fun," Hitchcock admitted. "It doesn't feel like it's been very long. I've really enjoyed most of the stops and I've really enjoyed working with this group."

The Blues begin a six-game road trip on Sunday in Dallas, but first will look to beat the Wild at home for a sixth straight time. They also are 9-0-2 in the past 11 meetings in St. Louis.

St. Louis will face Minnesota for the second time this season having kicked off the season series with a 3-2 shootout road win on Nov. 29. Tarasenko had a goal in regulation and another in the shootout, while Jake Allen made 36 saves.

The Blues have won 10 of their past 11 overall versus the Wild, who got goals from Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise in the loss.

Parise had his club's only goal in last night's 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. He netted an equalizer at 11:31 of the second period, but the Ducks went back ahead only 2:14 later after a Matt Dumba turnover led to an Anaheim goal.

"It was just a bad play by me. I caught in the headlights there," Dumba said. "I didn't want to go behind the net. I saw a guy coming. I have to do a better job to make a hard play there. It cost us tonight."

Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves for the Wild, who followed up a five-game win streak with a 1-2-0 homestand.

Minnesota still owns a three-point lead for a wild card spot and is five points behind the third-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division.