Jake Allen was outstanding in his second start of the season Friday night. He got some help when Schwartz scored early in the first making a great move in tight space after Berglund was able to keep the puck in the offensive zone. A few minutes later, Schwartz was able to return the favor by setting up Berglund’s goal with some strong forechecking. That goal was the end of the night for Flames netminder Leland Irving who gave up both goals on just 4 shots.
The line combinations that Hitchcock put in to play seemed to really develop some chemistry. Berglund, Schwartz & Stewart seem to feed off of each other and create open ice to make plays and were really strong on the puck. It was also good to see Tarasenko, Steen & McDonald reunited. Steen picked up another goal, his 4th straight game finding the net.
If the quick offensive start wasn’t enough, Allen made what could be the save of the year. About midway through the first, the Flames had an odd man rush on Allen who proceeded to make an unbelievable save on TJ Brodie to tip it with his stick in mid air, then glove it to keep the puck out. The Blues then transitioned the puck to the offensive end and Steen proceeded to score his goal. David Perron got 2 power play goals on the night now giving him 5 on the season. The boys have now scored a power play goal in a remarkable 8 straight games, as they continue to be the top ranked unit in the league.
It was clear from the start that the players were buying in to the game plan by attacking the net, as they did to start the season. The team looked amazing until about midway through the second period, when at that point up 4-0, they appeared to let up a little. The Flames took that opening and really began to pressure the Blues and actually out shot the Blues 15-5 in the second.
Allen has certainly made the goaltending situation a tough decision for Hitchcock when Halak is healthy. You could really see his confidence grow tonight and the team really fed off it. He rarely gave up rebounds and was strong on his angles. In addition to the stick save in the first, he also made another great one in the second on a shorthanded chance by the Flames when Shattenkirk broke his stick in the offensive zone and had an odd man rush. The two goals allowed were certainly no fault of his own, especially on Wideman’s power play goal just outside the faceoff circles. Allen finished the night with 30 saves to pick up the team’s second win in a row. If Allen keeps this up and Halak gets healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Elliott comes up with some type of ‘injury’ during a practice that would allow the team to put him on IR for a bit.
Tonight was as good of a game we’ve seen from the Blues since the first week or so of the season. The only improvements that would have been nice to see them play a full 60 minute game. If they let up against a better team, such as the Blackhawks or Canucks, they might not come out with two points next time.
Next game on the road trip is Sunday night against the Sedin Sisters and the rest of the Canucks.