Jake Allen (Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Blues netminder Jake Allen has asserted himself as the starting netminder in St. Louis and, thanks in large part to a great stop on Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Allen heads into the holiday break tied for the league lead with five shutouts.
The St. Louis Blues are heading into the holiday break sitting second in the Central Division, and that’s in no small part due to the great goaltending the team has been getting out of Jake Allen.
Allen, 25, battled his way to the starting job with the Blues over the past two seasons and he continues to have a stranglehold on the top spot in St. Louis. If you’re having a hard time understanding why, feel free to ask Bruins leading goal scorer Brad Marchand, who was robbed by Allen thanks to an outstanding lunging stop.
The Bruins had possession in the Blues’ zone midway through the second frame when Marchand worked the puck back to Boston captain Zdeno Chara. With room to operate, Chara wound up and released one of his powerful slap shots. The puck got through to Allen and he made the initial save, but the rebound bounced off of his pads and directly to Marchand. Though he was on his backhand, Marchand was able to direct a good shot on goal which was met with an even better save by Allen:
Blues color commentator Darren Pang is right to point out Allen’s push to his left because that’s what makes the save so amazing. Allen was able to cover so much ground in a split second because of a great push, and before there was enough daylight for Marchand to fit the puck past Allen, the Blues netminder was there to stop the shot with his chest.
The stop on Marchand was one of 32 Allen made on the night as he moved into a tie with Chicago’s Corey Crawford for a share of the league lead with five shutouts. Allen sits in the top 10 for every major goaltending category heading into the holiday break, too. He’s eighth in goals-against average at 2.06, sixth in save percentage with a .928 mark and fourth in wins with 16.
If Allen keeps this up, he may earn himself a raise in the off-season. Scheduled to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2016-17 season, St. Louis will be able to negotiate and sign Allen to an extension come July. Allen is currently in the first season of a two-year, $4.7-million deal.