(photo courtesy Getty Images)
The story was all Jake Allen in this one as he stopped all 26 Winnipeg Jets shots and recorded his first shutout of the year. It was the 17th shutout of his career and moves him into sole possession of third place all-time with the Blues in shutouts.
Only Jaroslav Halak (20) and Brian Elliott (25) have more shutouts as a Blues goaltender. It was Allen’s 125th win as a Blue and moves him within 12 wins of Curtis Joseph on the all-time list. Mike Liut sits atop the franchise record books with 151 wins.
The Blues gave up way too many goals (8) the last time they faced the Jets and they were determined not to let that happen in this one. The player who lit the lamp the most in that game was Patrik Laine. He scored 5 goals and then talked in the media about how wide open he was. From the looks of things in the early going the boys didn’t take too kindly to his comments. Tonight would be a different story.
Early in the game (2:08 mark), Jordan Nolan put a hit on Laine and was whistled for elbowing. The hit looked clean, but as Nolan finished the hit in open ice he extended his arm, which could have given the impression that he used his elbow. Take a look at it here, courtesy of Cristiano Simonetta on Twitter.
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) December 8, 2018
The penalty was the first of six power plays the Blues would give the Jets. More than once, the broadcasters used the phrase “playing with fire” when talking about giving the lethal Jets offense a man advantage.
Winnipeg was 2nd in the league on the power play, scoring 29.3% of the time. They had scored a power play goal in 21 of 27 games to date this season. But tonight they went 0 for 6. The Blues played good defense and Jake made some great saves.
Here is one of them on Nikolaj Ehlers.
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) December 8, 2018
The first period ended with Winnipeg leading the Blues in shots on goal at 13-10 but neither team scored.
The Blues had 2 power play opportunities. The first one was only for 9 seconds in the first period, and really shouldn’t even count. The second one came 13:48 into the 2nd period. Tyler Myers was called for tripping on Ivan Barbashev and the Blues made it count.
At the 14:56 mark Colton Parayko wound up for a big slapper from the blue line. Alexander Steen was in the shooting lane. The puck deflected off something and got past Connor Hellebuyck to put the Blues up 1-0. The goal was originally credited to Steen but after the game he said he never touched it and the goal was awarded to Parayko.
By the end of the period, the shots on goal were 23-20 in favor of the Blues.
St. Louis has played some very undisciplined hockey in the last few games. They took two more penalties in the final period. The first was a hooking penalty on Tyler Bozak. By the time he actually committed the penalty, the Blues already had possession of the puck so it looked a bit unnecessary.
The other one was a holding call on David Perron. He should have been called for “tackling”. It was obvious, unnecessary, and stupid. Sorry, DP57. We love you but you’ve taken some dumb penalties at times. Let’s clean that up, ok?
Miraculously, the Jets didn’t even get a shot on goal on either power play. The Blues defense was smothering. In fact, Winnipeg’s first shot on goal in the final period came with just 6:30 remaining in the game.
Winnipeg pulled the goalie with 2:10 left in the game, but couldn’t find the net. Jake Allen made a huge save with his left skate with just a few seconds left on the clock to seal the win.
- Here is some more to think about with Jake Allen. I know I’m not going to change some people’s minds about him, but hear me out. Many people consider Connor Hellebuyck to be an elite goalie. He hasn’t won a cup but he took his team to a Conference Final last year and signed a big contract. He’s a good goalie.
- Prior to tonight’s game, Hellebuyck’s GAA this season is 2.97. Allen’s is 3.16. If you extend Jake’s numbers to 20 games as Hellebuyck has played, Jake will have allowed 3.8 more goals than Connor in 20 games played. 1 more goal for every 5 and 1/4 games. Wait. There’s more.
- Hellebuyck’s save percentage is .904. Jake’s is .889. That’s a difference of just .015, which means Jake has allowed 1.5 more goals for every 100 shots he’s faced. The league average is about 32 shots on goal per game, so he has allowed 1.5 more goals about every 3 games than Hellebuyck.
- Now, I know people will say “Hellebuyck’s numbers aren’t at the top of the league. So you’re comparing Allen to a guy that’s playing mediocre this year.” But, here’s the point I’m trying to make. Prior to tonight’s game here were their records
- Hellebuyck 12-7-1
- Allen 7-7-1
- Their stats aren’t much different, but their records certainly are. A team has to play in front of the goaltender. It’s not always the goalie’s fault. I think Jake’s having a really good year. If this team could find some consistency, I think he can carry this team into the playoffs.
- Robert Bortuzzo plays with passion. Bobo may not be the fastest guy or the most skilled guy you’ll ever watch play, but you won’t find anyone who cares more than this guy seems to. He was aggressive tonight and was vocal on the ice and on the bench, and he played a hell of a good game.
- Have you noticed how Larry Robinson was patting guys on the back on the bench? I’m starting to see him as a guy who could make a difference. He’s won 6 Stanley Cups, right? He’s a hall of fame defenseman.
- Ryan O’Reilly leads the league in faceoff win percentage at 60.7%. No other player that has taken as many faceoffs has a higher win percentage. Have you noticed how many guys get thrown out of the faceoff circle against him? I’d guess they’re a bit intimidated by his prowess. They’re fudging, trying to gain any advantage they can. Glad he’s on our team.
- If we’ve ever needed a 4-game homestand and a winning streak, it’s now. The Blues will host Vancouver, Florida, Colorado, and Calgary in the next 8 days at the Enterprise Center. Let’s go Blues!