The St. Louis Blues got the start it was looking for after posting three wins in as many games to begin the 2016-17 campaign. Its success is due to a number of factors but a few things stand out in particular, namely the play of its new goaltending tandem in between the pipes.
Jake Allen and Carter Hutton
St. Louis passed the baton to starting goaltender Jake Allen this year and the move has paid immediate dividends. Although it’s only been two starts, he’s won both with a solid 2.00 goals-against average and respectable .900 save percentage. By numbers along it’s difficult to judge his place among other goaltenders around the league at this point in the season, but he’s come away with four points for the team in two games.
And Allen has done it in style. Watch the video below as Allen denies the Wild’s Eric Staal on a breakaway attempt with both teams still tied at 1-1. St. Louis would go on to defeat Minnesota by a score of 3-2 in its home-opener.
Perhaps more surprising than Allen’s success has been Carter Hutton’s ability to end the night with another two points. He got the start in goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win in regulation over the Rangers bringing a rather potent New York offense to a halt in the victory.
Hutton’s best save of the game may have been this pad save to help maintain the Blues’ 3-2 lead in the third period.
Together Allen and Hutton have held their own in net and have truly been a highlight for the team that three games into its 2016-17 season.
In addition to its solid goaltending, the Blues great start this season can be attributed to the variance of names showing up on the scoresheet. While Vladimir Tarasenko continues to make his dent offensively, less common names have found themselves at the forefront of St. Louis offensive production.
Players like Paul Stastny, Scottie Upshall and Magnus Paajarvi have found the back of the net while defenseman Colton Parayko has contributed mightily with a pair of assists.
Scoring depth is something every team needs because it gives its star players a chance to have an off-night. When all of the scoring is dependent upon the success of one or two players, the pressure can be high and the team ultimately less successful.
St. Louis’ ability of late to harness its depth is going to be an important part of the season as it progresses. The fact that they’re already producing for the team is a reason to remain optimistic in 2016-17.
Although it’s impossible to gauge how the rest of the season will play out after just a handful of games, the Blues’ have a real shot at winning four straight and making some noise in the Western Conference. Its ability to earn points in tight games is something it can build on for the foreseeable future.