Lets be clear, this loss can’t be pinned on rookie netminder Jake Allen. There were a number of factors that went into the loss, not the least of which was the Blues travel woes that led to an obvious case of fatigue. If the fatigue wasn’t obvious to you don’t worry, NBC analyst Pierre McGuire reminded us of it roughly 937 times throughout the course of the game. Still however, despite being obviously travel weary the Blues were locked in a chippy 1-1 battle with the well rested San Jose Sharks. Allen had been up to the task nearly all game, making all the big saves, and keeping his team in it.
Then it happened.
The clock struck midnight, and the Jake Allen Cinderella story turned into a pumpkin.
A relatively harmless wrister from the Sharks’ Tim Kennedy at 13:02 of the third period handcuffed Allen, and somehow found the back of the net leading to a 2-1 lead that the Blues just couldn’t answer. It was the type of bad goal that every goalie will let in at some point, and the type we hadn’t seen from Allen during his remarkable run, but unfortunately in what might have been one of, if not his most, solid performances it will the one shot he should have stopped that we’ll all remember. Such is the role of the goaltender in hockey. Allen will likely stick around on the roster for one more night, just to be sure that Jaroslav Halak gets through tomorrow night’s tilt in Colorado ready to go, but in all likelihood this was Jake’s last stand barring injury or more ineffectiveness from Brian Elliott.
The most important thing Allen needs to take from his stint in St. Louis is the confidence to know that he can play at this level. It will make him ready should he need to be called upon again, and it will hopefully light a fire under Elliott that he needs to perform, because his job is no longer safe.
It was an ugly goal that was the game winner tonight, but the Blues three game winning streak that was led by Allen meant that this loss can hopefully be shaken off. That needs to be the take away for the youngster as he likely heads back to Peoria and hands the keys back over to Halak and Elliott.