The Blues are going back to goalie Jake Allen for Monday’s significant Game 5 of the Western Conference Final at Scottrade Center (5 p.m., NBCSN).
Coach Ken Hitchcock made the announcement on Sunday.
“I'm comfortable with either guy, but I woke up this morning, talked to the coaches again, and decided to go with Jake,” Hitchcock told reporters.
On Saturday in San Jose, Allen made 31 saves as the Blues spanked the Sharks at SAP Center, 6-3. It was his first start of the postseason.
Allen and Brian Elliott essentially split time in the regular season, but it was Elliott who started the first 17 playoff games before he was yanked in the third period of Game 3. Elliott has a 9-8 record with a 2.34 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in the playoffs, dropping games two and three as the Blues' offense went stone cold in a pair of shutout losses.
“We just needed to compete a lot harder for whoever was in goal, and that was why I made the change,” Hitchcock said. “It had nothing to do with Brian and his play. He's been unbelievable since the start of playoffs, but we needed, in my opinion, to jolt ourselves into playing a lot harder for whoever was in the net.”
Allen said: “Our backs would have been against the wall [Monday] if we lost that game last night. We are back in our own barn. We have two games out of three on our own ice. And it's best of three now, first one to win two.”
Hitchcock was mum on the status of forwards David Backes, Robby Fabbri and Scottie Upshall, putting off any definitive updates until Monday morning. He did say after Game 3, however, that Backes and Fabbri “should be good to go.”
Backes, the Blues’ captain, did not play after the first period, although he remained on the bench. Earlier in the game, he took a hit from Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, although it’s unclear if that’s what caused his injury.
Fabbri, St. Louis’ leading playoff scorer, sat for the final 16 minutes of the third period. He was hammered into the wall by Tommy Wingels in the first period and was slow to get up.
Upshall is nursing an upper body injury and has missed the last two games.