Goaltender Brian Elliott's best stretch this season for the St. Louis Blues came on the heels of a two-game conditioning stint in the minors with the Peoria Rivermen.
Elliott returned with more confidence and was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week on Monday after delivering three straight victories.
His 3-0 record included a 1-0 shutout at Detroit on Sunday. Elliott also posted a 1.45 goals-average during the span with a .952 save percentage, allowing only four goals in his last three starts during his best stretch of play this season.
His week included a season-high 33 saves, plus three more in the shootout, in a 4-3 road win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Elliott had 28 saves Sunday for his first shutout this season and 19th of his career, a 1-0 victory over Detroit.
"What we're really grateful for is he went to Peoria," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, noting Elliott had to agree to be sent down and he did it willingly. "He was smart, he wanted to go there. He got all the game-day routine out of the way so it was familiar ground. That's fortunate and smart on both parties' part to allow him to play those games in Peoria."
Elliott and rookie Jake Allen (9-3, 2.33 goals-against average, .911 save percentage) have stepped up following a lower-body injury to starting goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Allen's last start was a 3-1 home victory over Columbus last Friday.
Scouting the Predators
The Blues will take a season-high four-game winning streak into their 7 p.m. game Tuesday at Nashville, with three of those victories coming on the road.
Since adding veteran defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Jordan Leopold, the Blues' defense has a plus-minus rating of plus-4.
In the previous 34 games, they were a minus-6. Since Leopold's arrival, the Blues are 4-0 and with both he and Bouwmeester playing they are 3-0.
"It's two guys that compete and move the puck very well," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. "It's two guys that any teams around the league would be looking for to help their defense."
The Blues' penalty kill has also been tough, killing off 16 straight penalties over six games and allowing just one power-play goal in the last 11 contests (27-for-28).
Nashville has won only three of the previous 14 games against the Blues, going 3-8-3 during that span.
The Predators (15-17-8) have lost three straight and six of their last seven games, including back-to-back losses to Chicago over the weekend.
Nashville's top scorers are David Legwand (11 goals, 23 points) and Shea Weber (eight goals, 23 points).