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Jake Allen To Start For Blues In Game Four

Brian Elliott has been rock solid, but the Blues've hit a rough patch. Will this shake-up work?

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

I am a noted Brian Elliott conspiracy theorist in that I sense a trend of the franchise attempting to undermine him at every step. Despite being the only Blues goaltender to win a playoff series in over a decade, Elliott was passed over in 2014 in favor of Ryan "at least I can go to my sister in law's wedding" Miller and last year for Jake Allen. Elliott has proven himself in these playoffs to be a solid goaltender and has even worked his way into entirely too early talk of Conn Smythe honors.

That last part only matters if the Blues make it to the Stanley Cup finals. As they're playing against the Sharks now, they won't make it there. The Blues look lost; they're only capable of maintaining pressure in spurts thanks to the Sharks' size and speed. They can't get cohesive play going, they're making sloppy passes, the Sharks are all over Vladimir Tarasenko, and the entire offense has been stymied for two straight games. When your fourth line is the sharpest one for most of a game, there are issues.

Here's the solution:

Is this a solution? Is goaltending even a problem?

Elliott hasn't been 110% sharp the past couple of games; how easy is it to be sharp when the team in front of you can't function thanks to the opposition having their number? Goaltending hasn't been *the* issue in this series.

Is this a solution? No, and I don't know if it's intended as one or not. It could be Hitchcock sending a wake-up call to his team - nothing more, nothing less. It could be that starting a goalie that the Sharks (probably) haven't devoted that much tape time to is a benefit.

If Hitchcock does consider this part of the solution, then he's missing the point. The Sharks have the Blues' number, they've figured out their gameplan as a whole, and the whole needs to be addressed.