EDMONTON, AB — Blues goaltender Jake Allen won a Stanley Cup last season. It just wasn't probably in the way he had pictured it.
From the bench, Allen watched rookie Jordan Binnington go on a historic run to the Cup, only playing in one game during the postseason, as a late-game replacement for Binnington.
Now, he's been called on to help dig the Blues out of a first-round hole against Vancouver. And he's answered the challenge.
Jake Allen could be starting something special in Edmonton.
After the Blues fell behind 2-0 in the series to the Canucks, Craig Berube made the call for his backup goaltender in Game 3. In the two games since, Allen has helped St. Louis to two wins, stopped 61 of 64 shots and seemed to give the Blues a spark.
But this is no surprise to his teammates, who knew what they had in the veteran.
"We see how great of a teammate Jake was last year, the way everything happened and even so this year. How hard he works in practice... I do a lot of goalie warm-ups with him every day and 'Binner' and 'O'Ry' and to see the way he works every day to keep getting better is very impressive," forward David Perron said after Allen's Game 4 win.
"I think everyone knows the stories of what Jake did last year to help 'Binner'," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "So when you've got two guys that are pros that are pushing each other, it's not easy, he hasn't played. I don't know if he played last year in the playoffs. But to step in and play the way he's playing, it's fun to watch. We're confident in both those guys and it's good to have that tandem because I know they push each other as well."
Although it seems like forever ago, if you can remember, Allen was brilliant during the regular season. He was second in the league with a minuscule 2.15 goals-against average. He was also fourth in save percentage.
That was still as a backup. But Allen knew he had to stay ready, especially in the out-of-the-ordinary situation 2020 has presented.
"Obviously this year is a unique situation. I knew I had to be ready. You don't have 82 games to prep yourself for the playoffs, so working hard and being ready and getting a chance and trying to make the most of it," Allen said after his nearly flawless effort in Game 4 against Vancouver. "The guys have played really hard the past couple of nights, hats off to them, and have made my job not overly difficult and got us back in the series here. It's good to be back with the guys, it's been a while so it's been fun."
Now, the Blues could look to ride the hot hand of Allen the rest of the series, and who knows how long after that?
St. Louis has looked more and more like the team who won it all last season over these past two games, and Jake Allen has been a big reason why.