Allen to Make First NHL Start Tonight
Goalie Jake Allen will make his first NHL start tonight when the Blues meet the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
"It's a great feeling. It's something you work for your whole life," Allen said after the morning skate. "You want to make the most of it. It's hopefully another step in my career. It's more experience under my belt and I'm looking forward to the challenge tonight."
It won't be Allen’s first NHL appearance, however. Just last week, he played 31 minutes in relief of Brian Elliott on Feb. 5, where he made 6 saves on 8 shots in the Blues’ 6-1 loss to Nashville. In addition, Allen saw just over one minute of playoff action last season in Game 2 of the Blues’ second-round series vs. Los Angeles.
"We just can't keep going down the same path with Brian because Brian's got to catch his breath here and reset and get back to what he was," Hitchcock said. "We've got to get him calmed down and playing the position because we don't know where Jaro's at."
In 31 appearances this season in Peoria, Allen is 12-16-2-2 with a 2.94 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage.
“Before he came up to back up, he was playing the best hockey he was playing in his life,” Hitchcock said after Tuesday’s practice in St. Louis. “We can’t discount that.”
Allen will become the first goalie since Ben Bishop to make his first career NHL start with the Blues. According to the Blues’ PR staff, the only Blues goalie to make his first career start against the Red Wings was Pat Jablonski, who lost 4-3 on Oct. 19, 1989.