If winning is all that matters, then Jake Allen is doing a great job for the St. Louis Blues.
More than a third of the way through the season, only three goalies — Sergei Bobrovsky (17), Carey Price (16), and Tuukka Rask (15) — have won more games than Allen (14).
But here’s where things differ between those four netminders: Bobrovsky’s save percentage is .934, Price’s is .940, and Rask’s is .932. Meanwhile, Allen’s fell to just .906 after allowing five goals in last night’s 6-3 loss to the Predators.
The league average save percentage is .914.
“You win as a team and you lose as a team,” said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, refusing to pin last night’s loss on his goalie, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“I think we made some big errors in our own zone with the puck and they took advantage of. You can’t play like that under the pressure. It just seemed that the third period we ran out of gas.”
That being said, the Blues’ goaltending situation is definitely worth monitoring. Partly because the Blues’ goaltending situation is always worth monitoring, but also because Allen is finally the undisputed starter. That wasn’t the case last year when Brian Elliott was still around. The new backup is Carter Hutton, who’s gone 2-4-1 with an .889 save percentage.
In fact, the Blues (16-10-4) currently have the NHL’s third-worst team save percentage, tied with the Flyers at .897. The Kings (.896) and Stars (.895) are the two teams below them. The former has been without their starter, Jonathan Quick. The latter, well, we all know the story with the latter.
Elliott, of course, was traded to Calgary after helping the Blues reach the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001.
Elliott’s exit left Allen with much to prove.
“It was tough to make mistakes when Brian was around because one game — you had a bad game — he was right back in the net and vice versa with him and me,” the 26-year-old said over the summer.
“I think you get a little bit more leeway, I guess, now. But not a whole lot. Carter’s a great goalie and I’ve heard a lot of great things about him. I feel that I had to etch myself into the league consistently. Now that I’ve done that, I still have another place to go and prove I’m a legit No. 1 guy.”
Allen also signed a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension in July, so he’s not getting paid like a backup anymore.
The Blues’ next game is Thursday at home to New Jersey. That may be one for Hutton to start, giving Allen the chance to rest up for Saturday’s visit from the Blackhawks.
Lowest save percentages (min. 15 games played)