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Allen to start Game 4 for Blues

St. Louis, trailing Western Final 2-1, changing goaltenders against Sharks

by @NHL /

SAN JOSE -- St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen will start Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks instead of Brian Elliott, coach Ken Hitchcock said Friday.

St. Louis has been shut out two games in a row and trails the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 at SAP Center on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"Some of it is just changing momentum for both teams hopefully," Hitchcock said. "But, you know, part of it is also the luxury. I've got a goalie that gives a different look. He plays a different style. He's very active in the net. He's very active at moving the puck, getting us out of transition. He's an awful good goalie, just like [Elliott] is.

"[Elliott] has run quite a distance here. We just feel like Jake's a guy that can help us change the momentum of the series."

Allen made two saves and played 8:33 in a 3-0 loss in Game 3 on Thursday after relieving Elliott, who allowed three goals on 14 shots. Allen has nine saves and has not allowed a goal in 49:57 in two appearances in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, including one against the Dallas Stars in the second round.

"I think if we expect to trot out with just a little bit better effort and expect to see a change, I think that would be misleading," Hitchcock said. "We're not going to change that. We're going to have to change momentum in a real positive way with probably a little bit more drama to it, and we're going to have to find people that can help us do that."

Video: Hitchcock says Allen will start Game 4

In 47 games during the regular season, Allen was 26-15-3 with a 2.35 GAA and .920 save percentage. He had a 2.20 goals-against average and .904 save percentage starting all six games of a first-round loss to the Minnesota Wild in the 2015 playoffs.

Elliott, who has started all 17 games for St. Louis this postseason, is 9-8 with a 2.34 GAA and .925 save percentage. He was 23-8-6 with a 2.07 GAA and .930 save percentage in 42 regular-season games.

Neither Allen nor Elliott was available for comment Friday.

"I think, quite frankly, we've had two guys all year," Hitchcock said. "It might be a story for people, but for inside the locker room and for us as coaches, it is kind of an easy decision in the fact that, you know, it's probably easier for us than it is for other people because we've just trusted both guys so much.

"We trust Brian. Even when there were bumps, we trusted Brian. I think this is a little bit different. This is a change in momentum."

St. Louis has lost the past two games 4-0 and 3-0 after winning Game 1 2-1.

"You win championships with defense," Hitchcock said. "Both teams are committed to defense, but they [are] being a little bit better at it than us, quite frankly. That's why they have the 2 1 lead. ...

"We have to make a change. Everyone is on a short leash, forwards, [defensemen]. ... Everybody's on a short leash. Give us what you got, we'll see it from there."

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