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Blues' goaltender shift 'doesn't change anything' for Sharks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Peter DeBoer doesn’t care who’s starting in goal for the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. 

The San Jose Sharks coach has prepared for both goaltenders so it doesn’t matter to him that Jake Allen will draw in for his first start of the playoffs over Brian Elliott.

“We went into the series expecting to see both guys,” DeBoer said Saturday before the game. “The way they played their goalies this year suggested we'd probably see both guys, so we prepared for both guy. It doesn't change anything on our end." 

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Part of the narrative with Allen over Elliott is that Allen can handle the puck better and help get the Blues out of their own zone against the Sharks. DeBoer said this wouldn’t matter much, noting that the Sharks have played two of the better puck handling goaltenders in the NHL this playoffs in Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings 

The Sharks beat the Kings in five games and the Predators in seven games. Puck handling from both goaltenders wasn’t considered a major issue in either series.

“Well, we played Quick and Rinne in the first two rounds, arguably two of the probably top three puck handlers in the league. Nothing we haven't seen before,” DeBoer said. “I think both goalies have their strengths.  It's pick your poison. They're both excellent goalies. We know they're going to get good goaltending tonight. Whether it was Elliott or Allen, we have to be prepared to play our game and get to either one of them.” 

Hitchcock again pointed out that this decision was made more to send a message to his team and change the momentum of this series rather than add a different look with Allen.

Allen started 44 games this past year and Elliott started 38 games this past year.

“I think the team is used to this. I don't think they're uncomfortable with it. Our feeling is that we've allowed six goals in the last two games, and it's too much. Zero reflection on Brian Elliott, zero.  It's a reflection on us,” Hitchcock said. “If we're going to win this series, get back in this series, we can't continue to allow three and four goals and expect to win games, not the way San Jose is playing right now.  We have to amp it up defensively.” 

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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