While the St. Louis Blues have only won one game in their last six, the nightmare is over at least for now. The Blues strong start to the season has been their saving grace as they are still in the playoff picture due to it and a winning streak now would wipe the slate clean and place them back among the leaders in the Central Division.
Last night, rookie Jake Allen was given his first NHL start after seeing action in a game earlier this season and a brief, very brief, game in last year’s playoffs in relief of Brian Elliott. While Allen was not necessarily great, he did manage to stop 15 of 18 shots faced for a save percentage of .833. While that might not seem impressive, remember that Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings only managed to stop 21 of 25 shots faced and earned only a slightly better save percentage of .840 in the game. Not a bad way to start your NHL career with a win in your first start.
Now that Jake Allen has put in the hard work of his first start, it seems he has earned another. Following the win in Detroit, St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock announced that Jake Allen would get the start on Friday against the Calgary Flames. While it is not the ideal situation, Hitchcock had this to say after Wednesday’s game,
If Jake can give us a breather here and we can catch some lightning in a bottle with him, that’s great. But we need our two starters back playing again or it doesn’t matter what we do up front. We can’t keep giving up the goals we’re giving up and expect to win hockey games. That’s not gonna work.
Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak is still working to make a return to play. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a great piece about Allen and Halak which you can check out here. In the article, Rutherford spoke with Blues GM Doug Armstrong about the situation.
Jaro, I think is getting healthier and stronger every day,” Blues general manger Doug Armstrong said. “It sounds like he had a good day, and he’s with us on the trip for a reason. He’s skating, he’s practicing and he’s getting closer. You say to the player, ‘Can you play?’ and he says, ‘Yes,’ so you take him off (IR). He thought he could play. He practiced, he had done everything to get ready. A movement happened in warmup that didn’t happen at practice. Everyone plays through different things. But we told Jaro let’s take care of this now, so we’re not dealing with it all year long. His position is different than other players. I don’t think we should manage our players out of fear of what might happen. When they say they’re ready to play, they play.
Let’s hope that Halak gets healthy and quick, but hopefully the Blues can lean on Jake Allen while we wait for our number one to return.
As Allen leads the Blues against the Flames on Friday the Blues will look to move up in the standings with another win.
LET’S GO BLUES!