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Blues' Allen starts Game 4 vs. Sharks

St. Louis makes goalie switch trailing Western Conference Final 2-1

by Eric Gilmore / Correspondent


Western Conference Final

San Jose leads best-of-7 series 2-1

TV: 7:15 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports

SAN JOSE -- St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen will start Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Saturday.

San Jose leads the best-of-7 series 2-1.

"We're playing a team that's got a bead in their game and focus in their game that's been around for seven games now," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've got to change momentum here.

"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. 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."

Allen made two saves and played 8:33 in a 3-0 loss in Game 3 on Thursday after relieving Brian Elliott, who allowed three goals on 14 shots. Elliott is 9-8 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Allen is making his first start of this postseason; he has two relief appearances. He is 2-4 with a 1.90 GAA and .910 SV% in nine career playoff games (six starts).

"We went into the series expecting to see both guys," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "The way they played their goalies this year suggested we'd probably see both guys, so we prepared for both guys. It doesn't change anything on our end."

After winning Game 1, St. Louis has been outscored 7-0 in Games 2 and 3.

"Definitely our team has to play as if our lives are on the line," Blues forward Kyle Brodziak said. "Nothing has come easy so far in the series for us. I don't think we expect anything to change [in Game 4]. Our desperation level is going to have to go up for sure. I think we're recognizing that as a group."

Despite holding a one-game lead in the series, San Jose isn't thinking about a first trip to the Stanley Cup Final just yet.

The Sharks led the Nashville Predators 2-0 in the second round, lost the next two, and needed seven games to advance.

"We understand we got to take it day by day," Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "You can't get too high or too low. You look at the Nashville series. I think that was a big learning curve for us because you go from being up two games to nothing, thinking the series was going to be over, and just like that it's 2-2 and it's best-of-3. 

"You just got to focus on the next game. It sounds so cliche, but it's so true because things happen in games. Special teams can happen, you can run into a hot goaltender, whatever it might be."

Here are the projected lineups:


Jaden Schwartz - Alexander Steen - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Patrik Berglund - Jori Lehtera - David Backes

Dmitrij Jaskin - Kyle Brodziak - Magnus Paajarvi

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Kevin Shattenkirk - Colton Parayko  

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo  

Jake Allen

Brian Elliott

Injured: Scottie Upshall (undisclosed)

Scratched: Joel Edmundson, Steve Ott, Ryan Reaves, Petteri Lindbohm, Chris Butler, Peter Harrold, Ty Rattie


Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Joonas Donskoi

Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Joel Ward

Dainius Zubrus - Nick Spaling - Tommy Wingels

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Paul Martin - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Roman Polak

Martin Jones

James Reimer

Injured: Matt Nieto (upper body)

Scratched: Micheal Haley, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Tennyson

Status report: Neither team skated Saturday morning. … Hitchcock will stick with his new-look fourth line from Game 3 when he scratched Ott and Upshall and inserted Paajarvi and Jaskin. Upshall is "not ready to play yet, not 100 percent," Hitchcock said. Hitchcock said he also liked what he saw from Bortuzzo, who replaced Edmundson in Game 3. … DeBoer will likely stick with the same lineup for the fifth straight game. ... Hitchcock said he'll make one change for sure and possibly two on defense.

Who's hot: Jones has consecutive shutouts and hasn't allowed a goal in 147:43. … Hertl scored two goals in Game 3 and has five in the playoffs. ... Pavelski has a four-game point streak (1-4-5). ... Backes has seven goals and six assists in 17 games this postseason.

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