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Jake Allen: Not as pretty as Gosling but great in net

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NHL: Buffalo Sabres at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Can we turn the page on Brian Elliott and believe in Jake Allen? Is that okay with Blues fans? One of the hardest things in sports is detaching yourself from great franchise players. It’s been a year of transition for the Blues faithful in seeing Elliott, David Backes, and Barret Jackman all play against St. Louis. I had my issues with some of the departures, but it’s a business. In the world of sports and business, good things end. Often faster than bad things do.

Allen is one of the hottest goalies in the NHL right now, garnering a save percentage of .930 or better in six of his last ten games. His overall goals against and save percentage of 2.36 and .913 are hampered by a disastrous outing against Columbus and back to back slaughters in New York and Dallas. Lately, he’s been lights out and carried the Blues during their current stretch of five wins in six games. He’s made the Blues respectable again.

The people who complain about Allen are mostly complaining about the fact that goaltenders are unable to score goals and for the Blues it’s a sore subject. The main issue of this Blues team over the last five years has been GOALS SCORED. Simple. The goaltending hasn’t always sat around elite level, but it has saved quite a few games behind questionable defense and a scoring attack that would make the Mighty Ducks respectable. Needless to say, Allen has continued the trend of big game goaltending in 2016-17.

Every time he allows a soft goal or has a bad game, all I hear is “They should have kept Brian Elliott!” Grab another beer, and listen to me carefully. The Blues didn’t want to outright kick Moose to the curb. He wanted to be a #1 for this season and the Blues had other plans. They had two goaltenders entering the final year of their contracts. A move had to be made, especially with a team in transition and an aging goaltender wanting the spotlight.

The biggest question hanging over Allen’s head was whether he could be a full season netminder. He hadn’t started more than 47 games in a season due to a series of knee injuries. He’s also only 26 years old with room to grow. Consistency wasn’t the issue. It was durability. Allen has shown it so far in shouldering the load of a messy team. He’s a big reason the Blues have an expert penalty kill. He stops a lot of clear cut attempts with the other team carrying an extra skater.

Look at Saturday’s game against a quick Minnesota team. The final score was 4-3 and one might say it was a rough night for Allen. That’s not the case. He made several key stops(28 in all), and two goals were knocked in because the Blues soft as baby shit defense couldn’t clear the front of the crease. It was also a fine rematch between Jake Allen and Devan Dubnyk. A return to the creases of two goaltenders who squared off in the playoffs in 2014-15. This time, Allen got the last laugh.

The kid isn’t perfect. He needs to improve on the road this season, as a .870 save percentage and 3.59 GAA can attest. However, the entire team drops a turd on the road. Allen can also stop resembling a meth addict in net. Better positioning would protect better against those sudden rebounds and soft letdowns. He’s got room to grow, but the talent and hunger are there in spades.

Let’s raise our pints high and show some faith in Jake Allen. Without him, the Blues are terrible this season. Take a few wins off their ledger. Paint them in red instead of black. He’s starting to be the difference maker and with the next four games at home, Ken Hitchcock should run with this horse in net. He’s lights out at home and the Blues need all the Allen they can get.

Long may you run, Jake The Snake. Ryan Gosling may be better looking, but you have my vote fella.