GLENDALE, AZ - Blues goaltender Jake Allen will make his first appearance of the season tonight when the Blues meet the Arizona Coyotes at 8 p.m. at Gila River Arena (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX 1120 AM).
Allen last played on April 21, 2013, when he made 11 saves in relief against the Colorado Avalanche in a 5-3 loss.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Allen said of tonight’s game. “I’ve been trying to treat my practices like games. I think I’ve put in a lot of good work at training camp with me, (Goaltending Coach) Jim (Corsi) and (Brian Elliott). Obviously it has been awhile since I played a meaningful game, but you always have to be sharp and ready and that’s my job. I feel confident in myself and ready to go. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
In the 2012-13 season, Allen made 15 appearances with the Blues, posting a 9-4-0 record to go with a 2.46 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
“He’s been good. We need to just get him up and running,” Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said of Allen. “We’ve got to play good in front of him so we give him a fighting chance. We don’t want to hang him out to dry and put him in a vulnerable position. He’s going to be a big part of our team now and in the future.”
Allen said he learned a lot watching the first three games of the season from the bench.
“To be able to watch our team, to see how they perform on and off the ice, to watch the D, how they play, how they handle the puck…it’s going to help me and give me a little more confidence,” Allen said. “I think the work that I put in through last season, this summer, training camp…I think it’s going to pay off.”
SIZING UP THE COYOTES
After dropping their season opener to the Jets on Oct. 9, the Arizona Coyotes have reeled off two consecutive wins: 3-2 Saturday against the Kings and 7-4 Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.
Forward Mikkel Boedker is off to a hot start with five goals in three games this season.
In addition to defending Boedker, Blues forward Alexander Steen said the Blues need to be ready for a fast-paced game tonight.
“Those guys like to play with a lot of speed,” Steen said. “For us, it will be important to just keep building off what we did in LA and execute. We need to start scoring some goals. (Elliott) can’t be shutting teams out and we still lose the game. We’re going to need to put pucks in the net. That’s myself, that’s a few other guys, and obviously, the power play.”
“(The Coyotes) are built like us. They’ve got four lines that play and work like crazy,” Hitchcock said. “They’ve got a real identity to their team. They roll four lines, they play that hard-working game. It’s two teams built almost the same way.”
FROM LA TO PHX
If you missed it, there’s a great video at stlouisblues.com and in the Blues mobile app that shows you how Head Equipment Manager Bert Godin and his staff move the team from one city to another overnight. Our cameras followed the equipment staff as they packed equipment, loaded it, unloaded it, and got it ready for practice Friday in Phoenix.
Click here to watch the video.
The Blues have won four consecutive games at Gila River Arena in Phoenix (formerly Jobing.com Arena), outscoring the Coyotes 17-7 in that span.
Jay Bouwmeester will play in his 100th game as a Blue tonight, while Steve Ott suits up for his 700th career NHL game.
Alex Pietrangelo has registered an assist in four consecutive games against the Coyotes. In his last 10 games vs. Arizona, he has two goals and nine assists (11 points).
Patrik Berglund has eight two-goal games in his career, with two of them occurring in Phoenix. Berglund joins Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan, Mike Sillinger and Keith Tkachuk as the only Blues with multiple two-goal games against the Coyotes.
The Blues have recalled defenseman Petteri Lindbohm from the Chicago Wolves. Hitchcock said the Blues needed an extra defenseman because if someone was injured tonight, the team wouldn’t be able to get someone in time for Sunday’s game in Anaheim.