It was a hard-fought win. However, one that came with some sacrifices. Brendan Gallagher was hit with an Alexander Romanov slap shot in the first period which broke his right thumb and is expected to be out for weeks. However, it was the Carey Price news that was arguably more concerning. Price was injured early in the second period while trying to make a save. Price favoured his right leg and was slow to get up. However, he stayed in the game and played extremely well the rest of the way helping his club come back from a 2-0 deficit in the third period and win in overtime. On Tuesday, it was announced that Price will stay in Montreal to get some treatment. Meaning Jake Allen will now take over as the starting netminder for the Habs.
Jake Allen Ready to Take Over As the Canadiens Starting Netminder
Prior to this season, an injury to Carey Price would spell the end of the Canadiens season. The Habs could only go as far as Price would take them. However, the Canadiens are much better equipped for that now with the offseason acquisition of Jake Allen. Even if the injury isn’t serious, the Canadiens don’t have to feel rushed to get Price back in between the pipes. Allen is more than capable of handling the load, even if it is for an extended period of time.
Allen Has Proven Capable of Handling a Large Workload
This isn’t Jake Allen’s first rodeo. He’s been here before. He was the go-to guy for the St. Louis Blues for years. And despite losing that job to Jordan Binnington, he proved to be excellent as a security blanket for the Blues. Prior to the 2019-20 season, Allen appeared in 40 plus games for four straight seasons. Over those four seasons, Allen posted a record of 105-77-16 with a goals-against-average of 2.58 and a save percentage of .911. This to go along with eight shutouts. That includes the season that the Blues won the Stanley Cup. He might not have been the goalie who got them there, but he still played a role in the team’s success that season.
Settling in as a Backup
Despite his success as a starter, the Blues found he was even more useful as a backup. However, not your typical backup as he still appeared in 24 games in a season that was shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Allen posted a 12-6-3 record with a goals-against-average of 2.15 and a save percentage of .927 to go along with two shutouts. His numbers were drastically better appearing in fewer games. However, whenever he did get the call, he was ready and proved more than capable of still being able to handle the load.
The same goes for this season in Montreal. Allen knew his role when he was acquired by Montreal. To be a solid presence behind Carey Price. Something the club has been lacking for years. He has provided just that. Allen has a record of 5-3-4 this season with a goals-against-average of 2.23 and a save percentage of .922. These are numbers that back up goaltenders haven’t been able to achieve in Montreal, so for him to be able to come in and be as solid as he has, has been music to the Canadiens ears. Especially Carey Price’s.
Just Another Day at the Office for Allen
For Allen, it’s just another day at the office. Nothing changes for the veteran netminder despite the change in his role. When asked about his mindset with the uncertainty of Price’s injury, Allen stated “Nothing changes for me. Carey, he’s done a great job for us and now I get a chance to go in there and play and have some fun with it. Nothing changes from my end. I’m preparing the same way as I would whether I’m playing or not playing. It really doesn’t change for me. I think consistency in that routine really just benefits you in the long run when these things come up.”
That’s the type of mindset you want from your backup goaltender. Allen is always ready. Whether he plays one game or has to play 20 in a row, nothing changes for him. That level of confidence is something that’s been lacking from the Canadiens backup goaltenders and it’s something that is proving so beneficial to the club already this season.
With a busy schedule to close out the season, Allen is surely up to the task. Any other year, an injury like this would have Habs fans in a frenzy on social media with them all ready to throw in the towel. However, as you scroll through social media today, it’s rather calm on that front. And that’s thanks to Jake Allen.