Jake Allen is Proving He Can Handle the Pressure
Jake Allen has faced a lot of criticism going into this postseason, but the narrative has shifted following his outstanding first three games.
NHL commentators around the league are struggling to explain Jake Allen’s incredible performance so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Jake Allen had a rocky season, but he is getting hot at the right time. Game after game, Allen is silencing critics with his outstanding plays against a team widely considered the favorite.
Heading into Game Four against the Minnesota Wild, Allen has posted a .974 save percentage. What’s even more remarkable is how frequently he is being tested. In the last three games, Jake Allen has stopped 114 of 117 shots. His performance has been good enough to hold one of the top teams this year to only .91 GAA. The only goalie to post better stats during the playoffs so far is Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.
Skepticism of Jake Allen’s ability to perform in the playoffs was reasonable considering how unstable he was during the 2016 season. After inking a four-year deal worth $17.5 million this offseason, he fell short of the fan-base’s high expectations. Early this season, he owned a lackluster .898 save percentage and was the fourth-worst goaltender against ‘low danger’ shots.
At his lowest point in January, the coaching staff benched Allen. Shortly after that, Mike Yeo relieved Ken Hitchcock of Coaching duties and installed Martin Brodeur as Allen’s mentor.
Since the coaching change, Allen posted a league-best .938 save percentage, propelling the Blues from outside the Wildcard race to a No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. He is playing the confident, big-in-the-net type of hockey St. Louis fans knew he was capable of.
Deep playoff runs are made on the backs of goaltenders who get hot at the right time. If these first three games have been any indication of what we can expect from Jake Allen, we may be witnessing just that.