After Jake Allen surrendered his second goal Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blues’ rookie netminder, making his first NHL start, went for his water bottle.
For the second time in a week, the last time in relief, Allen gave up a goal on the first shot he faced. The Blues then fell in a 2-0 hole for the fifth time in their last six games when Allen let one squeak in on the sixth shot he faced.
“It was not the way you want to start it, first shot again, but after the second one, I just took a drink of water,” Allen said. “I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last three years, just keep your head in the game … you’re in pro hockey. We needed this one, so I just told myself battle it out and give the guys a chance.”
The Blues ended their five-game losing streak when Alex Steen scored 52 seconds into overtime, capping a 4-3 victory, one that could be attributed to Allen staying poised and the Blues returning to the style of play that led to their success last season and in building a 6-1 start this year.
On the strength of a season-high 24 blocked shots and a penalty-killing unit that scored the game-changing goal and held Detroit without a shot on goal on two third-period power plays, the Blues improved to 7-5-1 overall and ended a string of four straight losses at Joe Louis Arena.
“We learned a lot about ourselves today,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “We learned that the harder we check, the more we score. Which was an easy sell last year and a hard sell this year, and it’s still going to be a hard sell. But our players learned that we can score four goals and check like crazy and still be effective.”
The Blues’ fourth goal, from Steen in overtime, was the difference-maker, but it was only possible because of a game-changer in the first period.
On Steen’s third goal in as many games, defenseman Barret Jackman cruised down the left side of the ice and put a shot on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard.
Blues snap out of it in Detroit
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Feb 14