The St. Louis Blues status as reigning Stanley Cup Champions is in jeopardy. The Blues trail their best-of-seven series with the Vancouver Canucks 2-0. Multiple things have gone wrong for the Blues. They have taken too many penalties. Canucks’ forward Bo Horvat has looked like a magician, scoring four goals in the first two games, including the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 2. Perhaps the biggest problem for the Blues is their goalie. The hero from last season, Jordan Binnington, has not looked like his normal self. As such, Jake Allen should start Game 3.
Jake Allen Should Start Game 3
Binnington is not the only reason the Blues are trailing in the series. However, he has given up some goals that he should have stopped. The most notable was Troy Stecher‘s goal in the third period of Game 1. Stetcher took a slap shot that Binnington was able to see the entire way, but the puck found it’s way past Binnington on the stick side. The goal ended up being the game-wining goal.
Binnington is allowing about 4.5 goals per game. His save percentage stands at .867, one of the lowest in the NHL. Binnington made a name for himself last postseason in many ways. One of those ways was his ability to rebound following a loss. That is not happening so far this postseason.
Allen’s Playoff Experience And Heroics
The Blues are running out of time to turn the series around. Jake Allen does have playoff experience, and he has the potential to turn the series around. During the 2017 playoffs, Allen just about single-handedly won the first-round series against the Minnesota Wild, including a 51-save performance in the first game.
In the playoffs, a goalie needs to sometimes steal a game or make a big save to turn the momentum around. Allen can do that.
Allen’s 2019-20 Season
Allen had a great regular season, despite limited playing time due to being the backup goalie. Allen had the league’s second-best goals-against-average at 2.15. Allen played in some big games for the Blues this season, including two games against the Dallas Stars and Anaheim Ducks right before the season paused.
The Round-Robin Game
Allen only played in one round-robin game. He was outstanding in the game, stopping 37 of 38 shots. The Blues lost in a shootout, but Allen was on his game and gave the Blues a chance to win.
Lighting A Fire
Sometimes in hockey, a head coach will pull the starting goalie in a game when things are not going well. This is not always done because the goalie is struggling. It is sometimes done to light a fire under the rest of the team. The general message is that the team is not playing well, and that the goalie is suffering from that lackluster play.
In the Blues’ situation, Binnington is definitely struggling, but the Blues have taken quite a few penalties which has not helped. Giving Allen the start could help the rest of the team avoid penalties and putting the Canucks on the power play.
Starting Allen in Game 3 does not guarantee anything. However, something is clearly not clicking right now with Binnington. The Blues have outplayed the Canucks in the first two games. Sometimes in hockey, it just takes one big save to turn the momentum around. The Blues are needing that. This team is capable of repeating as Stanley Cup Champions. However, the window could be closing quickly if something does not change soon.