It wasn’t a perfect outing between the pipes, and being on the losing side of a game is neither fun or easy. Especially during the postseason.
But St. Louis Blues’ goalie Jake Allen, in his first career postseason start (and first true postseason appearance), shined, and was an integral part in keeping the Blues in the game throughout most of Game 1, which the Minnesota Wild won 4-2 (two of the goals that were scored by the Wild were empty-netters within minutes of each other).
The 24-year old, drafted in the 34th round by the Blues in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, started well, but Wild forward Jason Zucker was able to speed past the defense of the Blues and score the first goal of the game, just 2:47 into the first period. And Allen took notice of how Zucker was able to score the goal.
“Wish I could have controlled the rebound a little bit better, but it was a good move by him, ” Allen said.
After allowing the first goal, he would then buckle down, and do his best to help the Blues remain within a goal of tying the game up. The goal by Zuker would be the only goal allowed in the first period.
However, in the second period, Minnesota defenceman Matt Dumba would score a slap shot goal 4:10 into the period, giving the Wild the 2-0 lead. But in what turned out to be a closely contested playoff game, Allen would not back down. The goal by Dumba would be the last goal that Allen would allow all evening. And in total, he saved 25 out of 27 total shots, for a save percentage of .926.
Minnesota did a good job throughout the evening constantly placing pressure on the defense and Allen in net, as well as preventing the offense from getting a steady rhythm going. While the Blues were able to cut the deficit to one goal on two separate occasions (the latest one by Alexander Steen with 58.7 seconds left in the third), the Wild would still respond with an empty-net goal.
Allen after the game voiced his opinion on why the Blues lost a game many anticipated they would win: “We just didn’t play a 60-minute game. We played well in spurts, but we need to play a complete game.”
The Blues head into Saturday’s Game 2 match-up down one game, but coach Ken Hitchcock has made it clear that Jake Allen will remain the starter, with Brian Elliott remaining the backup.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)