If you ever wanted proof that Jake Allen has been an outstanding teammate since Jordan Binnington took over the starting role for the St. Louis Blues midway through last season, here's a great example…
During the Stanley Cup Final last June, Allen studied the positioning and movements of Boston Bruins' goaltender Tuukka Rask and mimicked him in practice in an attempt to give his teammates an inside edge on where Rask might be vulnerable.
As you already know, the Blues would edge the Bruins in a back-and-forth seven-game series that ended with St. Louis hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 52-year history.
Fast forward five months, and in part because of a demanding schedule, Allen has now played three of the Blues' last five games, going 2-0-1 with a 1.03 goals-against average, a .972 save-percentage and one shutout. And in last Saturday's 3-1 win against the Dallas Stars, he was mere minutes away from yet another shutout.
In his latest start Monday in Chicago, Allen turned aside 38 shots to record the 20th shutout of his career and move into a tie with Jaroslav Halak for second place on the Blues' all-time shutout list.
So when reporters came into the locker room after the game to ask him questions about his stellar peformance, more often than not, he deflected the praise to his teammates.
Here are some of Allen's comments in Monday's postgame interview:
Video: Allen speaks to media after 4-0 win in Chicago
On how Chicago had 38 shots but perhaps not a lot of high-danger scoring chances:
"Our 'D' has been playing unbelievable. Unbelievable. I don't really know how to describe it. Probably the best I've played behind in my tenure as a Blue, even last year (when we won the Stanley Cup). Guys are just doing a hell of a job, that goes for the forwards as well. Tracking, sticks, pucks, being in the right area at the right time. Everybody is committed right now… it might be boring (defensive) hockey, but that's the way we play and that's the way we won last year."
On how his positive attitude of accepting his role might be contributing to his success now:
"I've always rolled with the punches, whatever came my way, good or bad. I still know there's going to be a lot of those (ups and downs) in the rest of my career. Last year, (it was) be the best whatever I could be - if I was support for 'Binner' or if I had to get into the net, whatever it is. That's the same mentality I came in with this year. I knew I was coming in with a different role, I tried to embrace it as much as possible. I told myself again, just try to get better all the time and be ready for your starts and go from there. It's a long season… you see every year, you're going to need both guys. I'm here for the boys, whatever they need."
On his relationship with Jordan Binnington:
"Me and 'Binner' get along great. We always have, ever since he was drafted as a young kid and I was here a couple years older. We just feed off each other. I think I've learned a lot of things off him, I think he's learned a lot from me. There's no competition. We're all in this together. You're just going out there and trying to play your best every night. He's been the best goalie in the League this whole season, I don't think there's any question about that. He hasn't had any (championship) hangover at all, he's proving himself now that he's an elite goalie, and I'm just trying to be right there with him, give the boys a chance because I know we have a hell of a team again."
On playing three of the last five games:
"It's a tough schedule. 'Binner' needs his breaks, I need games and there's a lot of back to backs. It's just the way it is. We were in a schedule the last couple of weeks, a lot of hockey, a lot of travel, a lot of work. There was rest needed. When I'm called upon, that's my job to go in there and give the boys a chance. I'm just going to keep doing that for now."