ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brian Elliott gave the St. Louis Blues another shootout shutdown. Coach Ken Hitchcock said it never should have gone that far, criticizing officials for missing a boarding call that led to the tying goal.
Hitchcock was so incensed after Elliott stopped all three shootout chances in the Blues' 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night that he was whistled for a 10-minute misconduct. He said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was checked from behind "almost to the fifth row" by the Coyotes' Martin Hanzal, freeing the puck from a scrum in the corner just before Radim Vrbata's power-play goal with 1:07 to go.
"There's no ice in the fifth row last I looked," Hitchcock added. "From behind."
Hitchcock had no quarrel with a cross-checking penalty to Blues captain David Backes that gave the Coyotes a late power play.
"You can't take that penalty at that time and he knows it, OK?" Hitchcock said. "That's not the one that bothers me. Never mind they scored a goal, we could have lost the player, and that bothers me."
Unlike Hitchcock, Pietrangelo skirted controversy.
"I'm not going to talk about the end of the game," Pietrangelo said. "You guys probably want to hear something. It wasn't our best effort, but we found a way to win."
Elliott stopped all three chances in a shootout for the second straight game, bouncing back from the late goal that denied him a fourth shutout this month.
Andy McDonald was the first to go in the shootout and got the only goal, beating Chad Johnson. He's 4 for 4 on the season. Johnson made his fourth start of the season after being recalled from the minors earlier in the week.
"Every time he comes in he plays great," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said of Johnson. "Too bad we couldn't help him out more in the shootout."
David Perron scored his first goal in 17 games for the offensively challenged Blues, who have scored two or fewer goals in 12 of their last 16 games. They've won 10 of those games thanks to tight defense and strong play in goal. They are 5-1 in shootouts.
Elliott clinched it with a glove save against Oliver Ekman-Larsson, whose pass from the boards set up the tying goal. Elliott also stopped three straight chances by the Canucks in a 2-1 shootout victory Tuesday night.
"I'd rather win it in regulation," Elliott said. "Getting that first goal is huge in the shootout, it gives you a little breathing room."
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