Jake Allen won’t forget his first NHL start anytime soon. Facing the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night, the young netminder fell in a hole early on, allowing first period goals to Tomas Tatar and Drew Miller before settling in. The Blues took over from there, scoring three unanswered goals as Allen settled in. A late goal from Pavel Datsyuk tied things up and eventually forced overtime, but the Blues’ Alex Steen scored a huge goal moments into the extra period to get Allen the win and stop a five-game losing streak for the Blues.
There haven’t been many bright spots for the Blues since Jaroslav Halak went down injured. Brian Elliott has struggled mightily, going 0-4-1 as the team’s top netminder. Allen had been sent back to the AHL in expectations that Halak would be ready to go for the Blues’ Monday night meeting with the Los Angeles Kings. Halak continues to be bothered by a groin injury and seeing Allen prove capable of staring down one of the toughest teams in the Western Conference should at least allow the Blues to breathe for the next week or so.
Allen, a second round pick in 2008, was 12-16-2 this season with the Peoria Rivermen before being recalled. He got help from his St. Louis teammates Wednesday shorthanded, at even strength and on the power play. Patrik Berglund, Vladimir Tarasenko and Chris Stewart scored for the Blues before Steen got the big one. The next game for the Blues is a Friday match-up with the Calgary Flames, with Elliott likely getting another chance in net.