After starting out the series as the underdog’s, the Blues have quickly shown that they deserve to be in the postseason and have shocked the Wild.
The Blues have been playing strong hockey for most of this series and a big part of their success has come down to goaltender Jake Allen. Through three playoff games, Allen is second in save percentage with a .974 and goals against average with a .91, per NHL.com.
It’s clear that Allen is a guy you don’t want to play against right now and some of the Wild’s players know how good he’s performed.
“He’s been great,” Wild centerman Charlie Coyle told reporters. “We got to find ways to put it past him some more. He’s obviously playing awesome. … You throw anything in there. You’ve got to take away his eyes. You’ve got to have second, third, fourth efforts.”
While Allen has been playing great, he hasn’t been alone. Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen and Patrik Berglund all have three points this series, while Vladimir Tarasenko, Joel Edmundson and Vladimir Sobotka each have two. The entire lineup has been strong and each position has been contributing to the team’s success.
The Wild’s players haven’t been as hot. Zach Parise is the only player with three points and has a minus-two through three games, while Ryan Suter has two points, but also ten minutes in penalties. Only six players on Minnesota’s roster have points and players like Martin Hanzal and Jared Spurgeon haven’t been very noticeable, as both have failed to register a point.
On Wednesday, the Wild will need to find a way to solve Jake Allen if they don’t want to be the first team packing in the playoffs. The club has had the offense they’ve wanted, but not the success when shooting the puck. It will come down to the quality of the shot’s these guys take and how much of a net-front presence they have that will determine if they live to fight another game, or are making tee time come Saturday.
For the Blues, they are going to need to limit Minnesota’s offense and make sure they aren’t giving up scoring chances. In two of the three games, Allen has had to make 40 or more saves. The club is going to need to find a way to disrupt the opposition’s offense, while also establishing a strong forecheck. The Blues could be welcoming back a familiar face for this game to help establish that forecheck.
“Paul is day to day, same as what he was the other day to days,” Yeo said. “I thought he had a good practice. I thought he was skating well, I thought he was involved in every drill and conditioning didn’t look like an issue and timing and execution didn’t look like it was an issue either.”
Stastny has been listed as day-to-day and he status for game four is still uncertain at the time of this writing.
Game four is scheduled to start at 8:30 PM CT and will be broadcast on NBCSN as well as FS-MW.
*header from Yahoo Sports