Jake Allen makes a save against the Minnesota Wild in Round 1.
I’m impressed that the Blues are coming back to St. Louis with a 2-0 lead in their series with the Minnesota Wild in Round 1. I’m impressed with the play of Jake Allen, whose struggles mid-season seem so far away now. I’m impressed with the timely goals of unlikely scorer Joel Edmundson, who has 1 less goal in the playoffs than he did the entirety of the regular season (2 to 3). And I’m impressed with the maturity of young players like Ivan Barbashev and Zach Sanford in the first two games.
Now anything can happen in a playoff series. Neither team is taking anything for granted, other than the fact that each team will play ferociously the next game.
Of any goalie that’s played 2 games in their series, Jake Allen leads all of them with a robust .974 save percentage. His 0.87 GAA also is tops. He’s the biggest reason the Blues are up 2 games to none. In the playoffs, solid goaltending is so critical. The goalie can’t be just good – he has to be great. No starting goalie in the entire playoffs has a save percentage below .900. And all but 4 have goals against averages at 2.00 or below. The Blues certainly aren’t going to snipe their opponents to death, so I think that as Jake Allen goes, so go the Blues. Early indications are promising.
There’s room for improvement as the series progresses, for the rest of the team. They gave up a A LOT of shots in the first game. They have to cut down on those. And they did a nice job in Game 2. Their top scorers aren’t showing up yet, save for Jaden Schwartz with the game winner last night. Tarasenko hasn’t scored yet. That’s not good, as it continues his “trend” of starting slow in the playoffs. They also need to be better in the face off circle. Losing face offs means they lose puck possession, and when that happens in your own zone, it puts them at a disadvantage obviously.
Minnesota has serious firepower. They have 4 20-goal scorers in the regular season, and 7 with 18+. The Blues have just 2 and 5, respectively. Their forward lines are more experienced and balanced than what the Blues put on the ice.
If I have a fear, it’s that the Blues won’t keep up the pressure. That they’ll lapse into a “keep-away” game instead of being aggressive.
Anything can happen in a series. Come on boys, now take the knife and jam it into their eye.
Thanks for reading.