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Blues will shift to Allen in goal for Game 4 over Elliott

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The St. Louis Blues will switch from Brian Elliott to Jake Allen to start Game 4 of the Western Conference Final in goal against the San Jose Sharks.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock announced the decision Friday at the team’s hotel. Hitchcock said he made the choice in order to change momentum in the series, which has been tilited heavily towards the Sharks. 

In three games this series Elliott has posted a 2.59 goal-against average and .899 save percentage. He has started every game for the Blues this postseason and holds a 9-8 record with a 2.34 goal-against average and .925 save percentage.

In the Blues’ 3-0 Game 3 loss on Thursday night, Elliott allowed three goals on 14 shots on goal. Hitchcock pulled Elliott in the third period and said he would “sleep” on a decision with who to start in Game 4.

The Blues are down 2-1 to the Sharks and have been outplayed for a majority of the series, having allowed seven goals the last two games. 

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“I like the solicit a lot of opinions. So I listened to the coaches. We kind of got rid of it last night and didn’t want to deal with it that much because of the emotion of the game and everything so I just talked it over this morning with everybody, including management, and came to the decision. Ultimately my call but just feel like we need to get a little bit of momentum changed our way,” Hitchcock said. “We’re not being rewarded for the work and they are which is the difference in the series, the small difference in the series has been that.”

The move could also be strategic for the Blues – a team that’s desperately looking for ways to break out of their zone and jumpstart their attack. Allen is a better puck handler than Elliott, which could help the Blues in getting up ice and entering the Sharks’ zone. 

St. Louis has been held without a goal for two straight games and while it’s unlikely a goaltending change could help a team’s offense, it could at least help somewhat with their breakout and keep the Sharks from setting up their offense.

“Part of it is the luxury. I have a goalie who gives a different look. He plays a different style. He’s very active in the net. He’s very active at moving the puck and getting us out of transition,” Hitchcock said. “He’s an awful good goalie just like Ells is. Ells has run us quite a distance here and we feel like Jake’s a guy who can help us help change the momentum of the series.” 

Allen has played in two games this postseason – both in relief of Elliott. He started for the Blues in the playoffs last year and had a 2.20 goal-against average and .904 save percentage in a six-game loss to the Minnesota Wild.

Allen played in 47 games this past season and posted a 2.35 goal-against average and .920 save percentage. Elliott played in 42 games and had a 2.07 goal-against average and .930 save percentage. 

Sharks coach Peter DeBoer was asked if Allen would change his team’s preparation for Game 4 and noted the Blues didn’t have a bad option in goal.  

“Both excellent goalies. It's pick your poison,” DeBoer said. “We'll deal with whoever they throw in net. Just have to concentrate on our game.”

Some of the Sharks thought Hitchcock was bluffing on a toaltender change. 

“I don’t know. I don’t think they will (change goaltenders)," forward Logan Couture said. "I think Elliott has gotten them here and he’s a very good goaltender, but Allen is a good goalie, as well. It would be a different challenge. We’ll see what happens.”


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



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