After calling on Jake Allen to “man up” (after putting him in net to get back on track), it’s anyone’s guess to who Ken Hitchcock will have in goal tonight. Both Jake Allen and Carter Hutton need to play better. Hutton gets a pass from some because he’s the clear backup in this situation, but so far this year he’s putting up career-worst numbers (2.88 GAA, .984 SV%). Allen’s line isn’t much better (2.76 GAA, .900 SV%). That’s not Jennings material. That’s barely AHL material.
And yet, as I said yesterday, that’s not all on the guys in net. I recognize that +/- is a useless statistic, but when you have exactly three players in the plus column and their names are Robert Bortuzzo (team leader), Dmitrij Jaskin, and Ryan Reaves, this is a problem. When you go 19:41 without a shot on net, as the Blues did Thursday night, you have a problem.
This team’s gone from slumpy to streaky to being in a position few people expected: in danger of falling out of a playoff spot. Tonight, we all get to stay up late to see them play a team that they traditionally have issues with, and the team that knocked them out of the Western Conference finals last year.