By Allan Muir
The ways of the hockey gods are mysterious, but fair. They always even things out. Blues’ rookie Jake Allen found that out in spectacular fashion Friday.
Allen made his first NHL start on Wednesday and looked pretty shaky in the process, allowing a goal to Detroit’s Tomas Tatar on the first shot he faced. Not exactly the way that young goalies imagine their careers starting.
But that’s all forgotten after he made one of those plays that even SportsCenter can’t ignore.
Allen was on the spot as the Calgary Flames created a turnover at their own blueline and broke out three-on-one. Some nifty passing — the announcers counted five touches inside the Blues’ zone — led to T.J. Brodie all alone in the slot for an empty-net tap-in. Of course, we wouldn’t be here if it had worked out that way.
His back to Brodie, Allen wheeled around and jabbed his stick across the crease. Amazingly, he got a piece of the puck and sent it skyward, then waited calmly to catch it.
A textbook desperation play, but Allen plays it cool as Clooney.
And the oh-fer-2013 Brodie was left to wonder when the hockey gods will finally smile on him.
Here is what Allen had to say after the game on FOX Sports Midwest: “Sometimes it’s nice to be a little bit lucky, but you just want to try to get anything that’s in front of the net. I didn’t have much of a chance, so I just stuck my stick out there and hit it and luckily, I could stand there and catch it. It was definitely one of the bigger saves I’ve made.”
Best save of the year? I’d say so. What do you think?
What the heck, let’s add in the goal of the year, too.
Top prospect Jonathan Drouin of Halifax goes coast-to-coast tonight against Shawinigan.
This is like watching Curly Neal drive through the Washington Generals. A burst of speed, a couple of knee-buckling dekes and he’s in alone to finish the play.
And ISS likes Valeri Nichushkin ahead of this kid? Okay.