The Blues goaltender put on a dominating performance Saturday in Nashville, turning aside a career-high 45 shots en route to a 4-0 shutout victory of the Predators. It was the second-most saves in a Blues shutout, behind Chris Mason’s 47-save effort against the Predators in 2008.
Allen remains red-hot, going 5-1-0 in his last six appearances with a 1.03 goals-against average, a .968 save-percentage and two shutouts. Allen has given up just six goals on his last 186 shots faced.
“It definitely brings the whole team’s confidence up,” Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson said about having a goaltender bail the defense out. “You see a big save and you want to build off of it. It gives you energy.”
“Jake’s playing up to his potential, which is giving us a chance to win every night,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There’s a different level of team we’re playing now. We were playing teams at a certain level and it got amped up the last few games, and we’ve needed our goalie to be our best player and that’s exactly what he’s been.”
Not that it should come as a surprise, but Allen will be back in between the pipes tonight when the Blues meet the New Jersey Devils at 6 p.m. CT at Prudential Center (FSMW, KMOX 1120 AM).
Last season in New Jersey, Allen pitched a 26-save shutout and made this unbelievable save in the first period against Devils forward Michael Ryder.
The Blues will be looking for a third straight win tonight and their fifth in the last six games. The Devils, meanwhile, have won four straight and sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with an 8-5-1 record (17 points). Mike Cammalleri leads the Devils in scoring with 14 points (five goals, nine assists), while former Blue Lee Stempniak ranks second with 12 (three goals, nine assists).
“I think it’s going to the toughest game of the last stretch to be honest,” Allen said. “They’re really quick with their speed, they’re scoring on all cylinders right now and they have a great goalie (in Cory Schneider). This is going to prove a lot to us. We need to match their intensity at the start and we’ll see how it goes. “
“If they get loose on you, they’re going to create havoc,” Hitchcock said. “We’ve got to play our game, which is a game based on positional play and creating turnovers… and a lot of offense from checking. Let’s try not to get into a track meet.
“I think the big key against New Jersey, who has defined structure right now - pretty impressive structure - is puck management,” Hitchcock added. “If we manage the puck properly, it’s going to put us into our game much easier.”
Martin Havlat will make his Blues debut tonight against the Devils. Havlat joined the Blues two weeks ago on a professional tryout and was signed to a one-year deal.
"He's an experienced player that can play multiple positions, and he can play multiple roles," Hitchcock said. "He's going to really help us. He knows how to play the game. He can play on both ends of special teams. He's got a lot of elements.”
"It's a great opportunity," Havlat said of joining the Blues. "I've been in the League for a while now, so I think they know what to expect from me."
Halvat has played in 788 career NHL regular season games, scoring 241 goals and 352 assists (593 points). He suited up for the Devils last season, playing 40 games.
A handful of Blues did not participate in the morning skate today, but here are the projected lines for tonight’s game.
Steen - Lehtera - Tarasenko
Upshall - Backes - Fabbri
Halvat - Gomez - Brouwer
Paajarvi - Brodziak - Jaskin
Bouwmeester - Pietrangelo
Edmundson - Shattenkirk
Gunnarsson - Parayko
In Saturday’s game against Nashville, Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo dressed in his 400th career game, becoming the 31st player and the 11th defenseman to reach the mark as a Blue. Pietrangelo ranks sixth on the Blues’ all-time points list among defenseman with 226, just five points shy of Bob Plager for fifth.
David Backes dressed in his 662nd game Saturday, tying Garry Unger for fifth on the Blues’ all-time games played list.
Former Blue Chris Pronger was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last night. Pronger played in 598 games with the Blues, earning a Hart and Norris Trophy while with the club.
Assistant GM Martin Brodeur returns to New Jersey for the first time as a member of another organization. We caught up with Brodeur to talk about having to root against the Devils for a night. The video will be uploaded to stlouisblues.com later today.
Robby Fabbri received good news on the trip home from Nashville on Saturday. GM Doug Armstrong elected to keep Fabbri with the Blues rather than assign him back to his junior team. “It’s just the beginning. I’ve got to keep going,” Fabbri said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for for awhile and it was great to get the news.” The Blues’ rookie has two goals and an assist in eight games this season.
The Blues scored two power-play goals in a game for the first time this season on Saturday in Nashville. Since the 2014-15 season, the Blues power-play is 24.8 percent successful with Kevin Shattenkirk in the lineup and 13.7 percent successful with him out of it. Shattenkirk returned Saturday after a 10-game absence with a lower-body injury.
Steve Ott did not make the trip with an upper-body injury and will be out of the lineup for at least the next two games.
Stefan Matteau wears No. 25 for the Devils and has appeared in six games this season. His father, Stephane Matteau, played for the Blues from 1995-97.