Jake Allen to get another start in goal for Blues

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is sticking with what works, giving goaltender Jake Allen another start.

Allen made his first start of the postseason Saturday after relieving Brian Elliott in Game 3.In Game 4, Allen made 31 saves in the Blues' 6-3 win, evening the series at two wins apiece. St. Louis hosts San Jose Monday.

"I am comfortable with either guy, but I woke up this morning and talked to the coaches again and decided to go with Jake," Hitchcock said Sunday.

The Blues had been shut out in two straight games to fall behind 2-1 in their conference final matchup with the San Jose Sharks. Elliott allowed three goals on 14 shots in Game 3 before being pulled midway through the third period.

Elliott had been stellar in goal as the Blues beat the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first round, stopped the Western Conference points leader Dallas Stars in the second round and beat the Sharks 2-1 in the series opener. But St. Louis couldn't get anything going in the next two games.

Because of injuries to Elliott, Allen started 43 games this season, going 26-15-3 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Elliott was 23-8-6 with a 2.07 GAA and a .930 save percentage during the regular season and had started all 17 Blues playoffs games.

In Game 4, Hitchcock also put the struggling Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko on the same line with Jori Lehtera and put defenseman Joel Edmundson back in the lineup after benching him in Game 3.The changes paid dividends as the Blues got off to a fast start. They hemmed the Sharks in their own zone with a strong forecheck and took a 2-0 lead after one, ending a scoreless drought of 156:59.

The Blues did have some bad news, however, as captain David Backes did not play in the final two periods and Fabbri also left with an injury in the third. Hitchcock said Saturday that he expected both players to play in Game 5.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.