The Blues have returned to their usual complement of two goaltenders and will give Carter Hutton another start on Thursday.
As recently as Monday, St. Louis Blues head coach laid out a detailed plan designed to help the team get its goaltending issues under control. Carter Hutton would start on Tuesday in Pittsburgh with rookie Pheonix Copley as his backup, then Jake Allen would make his long-awaited return on Thursday in Minnesota with Copley again serving as the backup.
That changed, however, as Hutton shut out the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Tuesday night, ending the Blues’ three-game win streak and allowing them to win three road games (all of which he’s started) in a month for the first time this season. Hutton was so impressive that Hitchcock will now give him a second straight start on Thursday against the Western Conference-leading Wild, and Allen’s return from a “mental reset” will be delayed for at least another five days.
Allen will get involved again to an extent on Thursday, though, as he’ll dress for the first time since he allowed four goals on 10 shots before giving way to Hutton in a home loss to the Washington Capitals. With both of the Blues’ regular goalies apparently ready to go to battle once again, Copley was reassigned to the AHL Chicago Wolves on Wednesday. He played in just one game (his first NHL start) during his stay with the Blues, giving up five goals on 29 shots, with three of them coming while the Blues were shorthanded, in a 5-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
This will be the second time this season that Hutton has received consecutive starts; the 31-year-old netminder started three straight games earlier this month, helping the Blues to a 2-1 record as Allen dealt with the same struggles that he’s been trying to shake since shortly after the new year.