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Jake Allen needs to find himself and his game

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This break should be good for the Blues’ starting goaltender.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Philadelphia Flyers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

There is something about the month of January that hasn’t seemed to agree with Jake Allen the past couple of seasons. Maybe it’s leftover holiday stress. Maybe it’s too cold outside, or too warm, or maybe just too St. Louis for him. It can’t be easy playing goal when it’s 70 degrees one day and then 25 the next.

Whatever it is about January, it sure gets Allen down in the dumps.

From Hockey-Reference.com, here’s Jake’s January stats for the last two seasons:

Jake Allen January Stats, 2017 & 2018

Allen hasn’t won a game since his stellar performance in the 2017 Winter Classic. His save percentage in January 2017/2018 is .828, and that’s because I included his relief effort in January 2017 against the Wild and his .957 SV% against the Blackhawks. When you remove those, his save percentage in the losses is .785. In the losses credited to him, Allen also has a GAA of 6.62 (if someone wants to check my math, please feel free to do so - I teach history for a reason).

So when I say that there’s something about January that turns Jake Allen into an ECHL-level goalie, I am not kidding. Here are his February 2017 stats, also from Hockey-Reference.com:

He’s a different goalie in the games following his 1-6 January. Granted, 5-5 isn’t a stellar W/L record, but the save percentage and GAA are much, much better. He only has two games where his SV% is below .900 as compared to seven starts.

What happened?

Allen didn’t travel with the team on the road trip that happened between his starts on January 19th and January 26th. His bounce back didn’t happen right away, but the tutelage of Martin Brodeur and the mental break helped Allen click. Brodeur is not an option for Allen right now. Clearing his own head, though, is. Allen is in the middle of a stretch of games that would demoralize anyone - in his last 10, he’s 2-8-0. Time away from the rink is good right now.

Whether that time will help when the Blues get back? Well, that remains to be seen.