St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen returned from a 17-game absence only to be thrown right back into the starting role as teammate Brian Elliott went down with an injury of his own. And while Allen struggled to start, it looks like he’s found his rhythm six games into his return to the lineup.
Sunday night against the Minnesota Wild, Allen was tested 32 times and allowed just two shots to get by. His performance was enough to help the Blues keep pace with the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars atop the Central Division, and the victory was thanks in large part to two massive saves Allen made to seal the victory.
Allen’s first big stop came midway through the second period. With the Wild breaking into the Blues zone, Jason Pominville got loose to the right of the Blues’ net and one-timed a spectacular pass from Nino Niederreiter. Allen, though, tracked the puck across the front of the net, lunged to left and robbed Pominville with a glove stop:
Allen wasn’t done stealing goals from the Wild there, though. After he was beaten twice around the midway point of the third frame, and following a Robby Fabbri insurance tally, Minnesota was pressuring to get two quick goals in the dying seconds. Again, Pominville found himself alone at the side of the St. Louis net and waited for a loose puck to end up right on his stick. With almost a whole net to shoot at, Pominville wasted no time firing the puck, but Allen fell backwards, reached out his paddle and deflected the shot up and out:
Allen was named the contest’s first star for obvious reasons, and Pominville likely went to bed Sunday night cursing the 25-year-old goaltender’s name.