SAN JOSE – Martin Jones took the loss on Saturday, getting pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots. There’s virtually no doubt he’ll return to the starter’s net for Game 5.
Jake Allen, starting for the first time this playoff year, got the Game 4 win with 31 saves. The team in front of him played its best game of the Western Conference Final series so far, by a long shot.
Logic would dictate he’s back in for Game 5. Right?
“You know, I didn't think that question was coming,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said after the game. “I'll let you know tomorrow.”
There were differing opinions as to Allen’s effectiveness in Game 4, a 6-3 St. Louis win that evened the series at two games each. Logan Couture mentioned that Allen allowed three goals in the game, and “[that] should be enough.”
Hitchcock, though, pinned only one goal on Allen – Joe Pavelski’s score early in the third period on a slick pass to the front of the net by Joe Thornton. He wanted to challenge Chris Tierney’s goal for interference, and on the Sharks’ third goal by Melker Karlsson, it was actually Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson who snuck the puck through his own goalie's wickets.
“He only let one goal in. That second goal was blatant interference,” Hitchcock said. “I lost my timeout. I couldn't make that call. If I make that call, I win it. We shot the third one in. He only really let in one goal.”
The Blues were a more energized club due to the change, according to Hitchcock.
“[Allen] gave us exactly what we needed. He's a competitive son of a gun. We needed a battler in there. We needed somebody to really help us play better defense. We played with more passion in front of him in our own zone because I made the goalie change. I had to make that decision.”
Pete DeBoer credited Hitchcock for that change and others, albeit with a comment utterly saturated in sarcasm.
“I'm sure Hitch will tell you he made all kinds of great adjustments, and every one of them worked tonight,” DeBoer said. “Hats off to him.”