After winning his first game on the road at the always difficult Joe Louis Arena, rookie goaltender, Jake Allen (34), made his second start in a Blues sweater Friday night and to sum it up…Elliot and Halak who? Allen had an answer for all but two of Calgary’s 32 shots; one of which was a shot that came from behind a scrum of people that Allen had no view of, and most would agree that not even Patrick Roy in his hay day could have done anything about.
Despite the game being the 1200th of Jerome Iginla’s (12) career, and Curtis Glencross (20) scoring his 100th career goal, the rookie Allen stole the show with an electric first period save on TJ Brodie (7) who had a wide open 5′ x 4′ area worth of net to shoot at. Allen turned in time to see Brodie fire a shot from no more than 10 feet out and reacted, throwing his stick in front of the net in a desperation move. The puck hit the stick, went vertical and Allen turned and caught is as routinely as a a pop fly for a center fielder.
The save drained the air from the sellout crowd at Scotiabank Saddledome but sent the Blues announcers, Darren Pang and John Kelly, into a frenzy unlike anything heard since Ken Wilson and his elated trademarked phrase “oh baby!” Pang immediately proclaimed it as the save of the year; that is after he caught his breath from the celebration of the ridiculous save. The save was unbelievable to the point that Brodie himself stood staring at the ceiling of the Saddledome in disbelief after what he thought he just scored what would have been basically an empty netter. Having witnessed a few amazing saves by Blues goaltenders, I would have to say that this one is up there near the top. But don’t just take my word for it — see for yourself below.
Allen went on to get the win, courtesy of his outstanding goal tending and the defense that finally showed up for the Blues. Of course, it didn’t hurt that St. Louis also brought their offense with them to Calgary scoring 4 goals in the first period. Jaden Schwartz (9), playing in front of his family, set the tone of the night taking a pass from Alex Steen (20) and burned Calgary’s Leland Irving (37) going forehand, backhand over Irving’s left pad for his first goal of the year at 1:28. Steen’s effort to keep the puck in the zone and his pass were nearly as pretty as the goal.
Schwartz continued his impressive play just minutes later fighting hard for the puck in the corner to the right of Irving. He won the fight, dropped a short pass to Patrick Berglund (21) in front of the goal where he found the back of the net earning the second goal of the night at 4:07. Berglund’s goal ended the evening for Irving who was pulled for replacement Joey MacDonald (35).
The Blues continued their first period assault on Calgary’s new goal tender by dominating the offensive zone. Steen blasted a slap shot wide of the net where Kevin Shattenkirk (22) was waiting to keep it in the zone. Shattenkirk shot on goal and the puck trickled through to Steen waiting on the other side, who cleaned it up for for his 4th goal of the year at 13:49 . Steen now leads the team at 15 points with his 11 assists.
Late in the period, Oshie laced a one-timer from MacDonald’s right side where the goal tender lost the puck. The rebound bounced hard to his left where David Perron (57) was waiting all alone to put his sniper like shot in the roof of the net over the shoulder of Calgary’s defense man Dennis Wideman (26) at 17:12 who sprawled out trying to block it. The Blues took a commanding 4-0 lead going into the first intermission and had all the momentum.
The start of the second seemed to offer a different Blues club as they were seemingly all defense, putting only 5 shots on goal the entire period to Calgary’s 15. At 15:37, riding the energy of a Chris Stewart (25) too many men on the ice minor, Wideman took his revenge in the form of a blast to the top corner that Allen never even saw he was screened so well. At 17:44, Allen covered up a shot and was swarmed by several Flames who hacked at his glove. Steen took exception shoving Mark Giordano (5), but Giordano gave Steen a straight punch to the face and then was put to the ground. St. Louis swarmed around their goal tender in defense. Steen was given a roughing call and Giordano sat for a minor slashing. There was a chippy feeling throughout the game which primarily came from Calgary’s forward Tim Jackman (15), who was pushing, shoving and playing very physical all night.
In the third period, the Blues came back with some fire but that didn’t prevent Glencross from earning his 100th goal at 2:46, making it 4-2. The Flames appeared rejuvenated, but were quickly shut down by Perron releasing a twisted wrister that found twine at 4:08 thanks to a power play from an interference call on Giordano at 3:03. The Note would hold the Flames efforts off for the remainder of the game and Allen played out of his mind, making several difficult saves. Although he was hot for 60 full minutes, Allen failed to earn one of the 3 stars of the game losing out to Steen at one, Perron at two and Calgary’s Jay Bouwmeester (4) at three.
The Blues travel to Vancounver, British Columbia to square off with the Canucks at Rodger’s Arena on Sunday, February 17th, which, coincidentally is National Hockey Day, which serves as a grand finale to National Hockey Weekend; an effort aimed at celebrating the sport and promoting it on a national level. The Canucks, at 8-3-2, who lead the Northwest Division at 13 points and who are hot over their last 10 games going 7-3-1 are struggling with goal tending issues as well, but they just learned that they will be getting a key center, Ryan Kesler (17) back from injury. The Blues earned their 17th point on the year but remain in 3rd in the division trailing the Nashville Predators by one, and the dominant Chicago Blackhawks who sit at the top of the NHL with 25 points and no regulation losses (11-0-3).