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Allen, Blues host surging Sharks

By Joe Harris, The Sports Xchange
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen looks on during warm-ups before a game against the Arizona Coyotes in January. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f447643e706dcf5deafea2add8d27f46/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen looks on during warm-ups before a game against the Arizona Coyotes in January. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

ST. LOUIS -- A month ago, St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen was saddled to the bench. Now he's the league's second star.

Allen went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in wins over Boston, Vancouver and Columbus last week. The Blues' 2-1 win on Saturday ended the Blue Jackets' 10-game winning streak.

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"We've got a good thing going right now," Allen told NHL.com. "I just happened to get the honor.

It's not a huge deal. Right now, we're headed in the right direction. Seven games left, a big one tomorrow and looking forward to it."

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Allen earned the second star behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid and ahead of Winnipeg's Kyle Connor.

Allen went 2-13-0 from Dec. 14-Feb. 25. During that span, Carter Hutton went 11-5-0 and earned the majority of the playing time before being sidelined due to an injury.

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With Hutton shelved, Allen found his game again.

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"Both have had really good years for us and obviously there was a time where with Jake, maybe it wasn't going as well," Blues coach Mike Yeo told NHL.com. "We could point to the goal scoring, we could point to a number of things, but I think by his standards, I think by our standards, we knew that there was another level there and certainly we're seeing it right now with Jake.

"But Carter's play during that time, that was real important for the group. You need two goalies in the NHL right now. The days of a guy being in the net for 70 games a year and being problem-free for the whole season, it's too difficult not. It's too much parity, it's too much with all the schedules, too demanding. The importance of two goaltenders probably has never been more important."

Hutton returned to practice on Monday and likely will get a start over the weekend when the Blues have back-to-back road games in Vegas and Arizona.

Allen figures to get the nod as the Blues host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. St. Louis had won five straight and entered Monday holding the second wild card in the Western Conference.

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The Blues are 0-2-0 against the Sharks this season, including a 2-0 loss in San Jose on March 8.

The Sharks won their eighth straight, edging the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout on Monday. It is tied for the third-longest winning streak in Sharks history and is their longest since winning nine straight from Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2008.

Kevin Labanc scored the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout and Martin Jones made 28 saves.

"It wasn't pretty for a lot of it," Jones told NHL.com. "But we found a way to win, and we've been doing that a lot lately, so that's a good sign."

Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said the team cannot get complacent.

"Our game's still in a good spot, but it has to go back up a level instead of trending down," Pavelski told NHL.com. "We understand where we're at, what time of the season it is, what needs to be done."

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