Jake Allen has been the Blues starting goalie for all five games of the first-round series against the Wild, but the St. Louis netminder looked shaky early in a must-win Game 6. With Minnesota’s Zach Parise streaking down the left wing, Allen allowed a goal from what looked like an impossible angle.
St. Louis has one of the most complete rosters when it comes to forward depth and a solid defense corps, but the one thing that has continuously haunted them has been the play of their netminders in the post-season. Coach Ken Hitchcock decided to go with Jake Allen for the Blues’ first-round series against the Wild, but in a must-win Game 6 on the road, Hitchcock might be regretting that decision.
With both teams scoreless early in the first period, Justin Fontaine took a tripping minor and put the Wild shorthanded. While it looked like an opportunity for the Blues to take the lead, Minnesota winger Matt Cooke forced a loose puck on the penalty kill and Zach Parise skated into the St. Louis zone shorthanded. After being forced to the outside, Parise saw a sliver of daylight behind Allen from an unthinkable angle, but fired the puck hoping for a break. Parise got it and Allen will probably have nightmares about the goal he gave up:
For Parise, the unexpected snipe was his sixth point of the series and second goal of the series. His goal held as the game’s only goal through the first frame on an afternoon where the Wild have the opportunity to move on to the second round.
The winner of the Minnesota-St. Louis series will go on to face the Chicago Blackhawks, who ousted the Nashville Predators in Saturday’s Game 6. If the Wild make it through, it will be the second straight year they’ve played the Blackhawks in the second round of the playoffs. In 2013-14, Chicago was able to get by Minnesota in six games.