Sport Jake Allen's turnaround fueling Blues' playoff run

17:56  19 april  2017
17:56  19 april  2017 Source:   Associated Press

Blues top Wild 3-1, grab 3-0 series lead

  Blues top Wild 3-1, grab 3-0 series lead <p>Jaden Schwartz scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Jake Allen made 40 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday for a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.</p>Colton Parayko also scored for the Blues and Alexander Steen added an empty-netter for St. Louis, which will try to sweep the series Wednesday night in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS (AP) Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Now they are chanting his name. Allen is the main reason the Blues , whose major January swoon got their coach fired

ST. LOUIS — Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Now they are chanting his name. Allen is the main reason the Blues , whose major January swoon got their coach fired

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, right, celebrates with Scottie Upshall after the Blues' 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 16, 2017, in St. Louis. The Blues won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) © The Associated Press St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen, right, celebrates with Scottie Upshall after the Blues' 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 16, 2017, in St. Louis. The Blues won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS — Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Now they are chanting his name.

Allen is the main reason the Blues, whose major January swoon got their coach fired, are one win away from sweeping the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the NHL playoffs. Game 4 is Wednesday night.

Allen has stopped 114 of 117 shots in the series for a .974 save percentage. Only one of the three goals he's given up has come at even strength against a team that averaged 3.21 goals a game, second best in the NHL regular season.

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Now they are chanting his name. Allen ' s playoff performance is a far cry from a dreadful span from Dec. 8 to Jan.

Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Allen is the main reason the Blues , whose major January swoon got their coach fired, are one win away from sweeping the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the NHL playoffs .

"I'm just playing my game," Allen said. "I don't know what's going on over there but we're just focused on ourselves and we're not worrying about what they're doing or what they're changing or doing to their lineup."

Allen's playoff performance is a far cry from a dreadful span from Dec. 8 to Jan. 31, when he was 4-10-0 with a 3.50 goals-against average and a .876 save percentage. Allen was so bad that he was left home from a January road trip so he could mentally regroup. On Feb. 1, the Blues fired coach Ken Hitchcock and goalie coach Jim Corsi. Mike Yeo replaced Hitchcock and Martin Brodeur took over Corsi's role.

Allen took off. The 26-year-old has a 1.85 GAA and a .938 save percentage since Yeo took over.

Blues forward David Perron said Allen never got rattled during his struggles.

Get to the net: Behind Blues 3-0, Wild seeking more screens

  Get to the net: Behind Blues 3-0, Wild seeking more screens With Minnesota and St. Louis tied in the waning minutes of a game last week, Blues forward David Perron forged ahead like an NFL fullback blocking for the ball carrier. As Perron skated tall between Wild defensemen Jonas Brodin and Ryan Suter, teammate Jaden Schwartz lined up for the winning shot deep in the slot behind him during the 4-on-4 situation. The puck soared into the upper right corner of the net on the glove side of 6-foot-6 Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who never saw it until it was too late with 2:27 left.Perron was in the way, doing precisely what he intended.

Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Allen is the main reason the Blues , whose major January swoon got their coach fired, are one win away from sweeping the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the NHL playoffs .

Jake Allen made 40 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to the 3-1 game 3 win over the Minnesota Wild and the 3-0 series lead. %2Fhockey%2Fnhl%2Fjake- allens - turnaround - fueling - blues - playoff - run %2F. Join the Discussion.

"During the season if he was getting pulled or whatever he showed up the next day and did the work and I think we're really proud of him the way he's playing right now, but at the same time you could have swore he played the exact same way the whole year," Perron said. "He's pretty level headed and we definitely need that."

Yeo said Brodeur's influence is seen in Allen's mental preparation.

"One of the biggest areas is how he handles the days in between, what he can draw upon from his own experience as arguably the best goaltender of all time," Yeo said. "How do you play at that level all the time? Obviously you learn very quickly to put the past behind you, you learn from it whatever, but you find a way to get focused, feel good, and confident going into the next one and I think that's what we're seeing with Marty."

Nothing has come easy for Allen since the Blues drafted him in the second round of the 2008 NHL entry draft.

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ST. LOUIS — Three months ago, most St. Louis Blues fans were ready to run goalie Jake Allen out of town. Now they are chanting his name. Allen is the main reason the Blues , whose major January swoon got their coach fired

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen , right, celebrates with Scottie Upshall after the Blues ' 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 3 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 16, 2017, in St. Louis.

He split time with Brian Elliott his first two full NHL seasons. Allen's first prolonged playoff experience ended with him getting pulled in Game 6 of a first-round series in 2015 against the Wild. He started all six games of that series, which Minnesota won, going 2-4 with a .904 save percentage.

Still, the Blues had enough confidence in Allen's pedigree - he had won a gold and silver medal for Team Canada as a junior player - to trade fan-favorite Elliott to Calgary in the offseason.

That decision is finally paying dividends.

"I think maybe subconsciously he's been so good for us it kind of gives you a sense of calm back there," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "Knowing you have a guy back there that if you make a mistake he's going to be able to bail you out."

Allen has left an impression with the Wild.

"He's obviously playing extremely well and he's sharp . ... All you can do is keep driving to the net, get bodies to the net, get pucks to the net," Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk said. "That's what you have to do and see if you can get a couple in there and change the momentum."

Even with a commanding lead in the series, Allen isn't taking anything for granted.

"The next game is going to be even harder so we're going to have to take the next two days to rest up and be ready for the hardest game yet," Allen said.

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Penguins beat Blue Jackets 5-4 in OT to take 3-0 series lead .
Jake Guentzel had a hat trick, including a goal at 13:10 of overtime, to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night and give them a 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Bryan Rust added two goals for Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury overcame a shaky first period to make 33 saves. Guentzel is the first Pittsburgh to rookie to get a playoff hat trick.The defending champion Penguins will go for the sweep in Columbus on Tuesday night.After only scoring two goals combined in the first two games of the series, Columbus scored three goals in just over six minutes of the first period.

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