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The St. Louis Blues are playing their best hockey at the perfect time of the year, and the team's four-game winning streak has bolstered its chances of making the playoffs.
The Blues won all four of their games last week and currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference standings with a four-point lead on the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes with a game in hand.
St. Louis earned impressive victories over four quality teams last week by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild and the Detroit Red Wings.
The most encouraging sign from the Blues' current winning streak is the improved play of veteran goaltender Brian Elliott, who has won his last three starts after entering last week with a disappointing 3-6-1 record.
Since starting goalie Jaroslav Halak has battled injuries recently and young backup Jake Allen does not have much NHL experience, the Blues need Elliott to play well consistently and give the team a chance to win each game that he starts.
In addition to Elliott's fantastic play in net, special teams also played a large part in the Blues' success last week. St. Louis has scored one power-play goal in its last four games, but despite the lack of production, the passing and movement with the man-advantage has been solid. In that same span, the Blues killed off all 12 of the penalties they had taken.
St. Louis has a difficult schedule for the remainder of the season, but as long as the team's goaltending and special teams stay strong, the Blues will make the playoffs for the second consecutive year.