The Blues left town last week with a three-game winning streak in tow and general feelings were good…Then Saturday happened, with their dropping a 6-3 clunker at Philly.
This made it hard to be excited for Sunday’s game as the Note headed to Washington for a matinee with the high-powered Capitals. Without a much better effort than on Saturday, this one could’ve gotten ugly real fast.
And it wasn’t exactly pretty, but the good guys did leave with a point via a 4-3 overtime loss.
“They needed an effort and they knew if they didn’t bring some kind of an effort it would be a blowout in Washington,” Blues insider Jamie Rivers recently told The Turn. “(Washington’s) just too talented to go in there with half a roster ready to go and the other half not. So it might have been exactly what the doctor ordered after the Philly game.”
Goaltending was a hot-button topic as the Blues ventured east, as Carter Hutton was on a three-game heater with some top-ten worthy saves therein. The net-minders then split the weekend’s contests with Allen having the rougher day during Saturday’s loss.
And while the duo’s recent performances may sound the ‘goalie controversy’ alarm in some Note fans’ bodies, Rivers was steadfast in who he believes is the Blues’ No. 1.
“Make no mistake; Jake Allen is an elite goalie,” Rivers said. “He’s the number one goalie and they’re going to turn to him. He’s going to be great. He’s going to get back on track and the team will get back on track in front of him. And if he has a hiccup or they need to give him a rest, we have an unbelievable backup goalie.
“I think the quicker we all just wrap our brains around that the better and happier we’re all going to be,” he added.
The former Blues defender pointed to the fact Hutton was hurt not long ago as a reason why Allen may not be in sync with his abilities at the moment. A lack of offense has also been an issue for both tenders.
“If you look at it closely, there’s a lot of those games where (Allen) didn’t get the ‘run support’ from his teammates and during that span Carter Hutton was hurt,” Rivers said. “Carter Hutton was scheduled for starts during that period of time. The fact that he got hurt made it almost impossible for the Blues to play anybody but Jake Allen.
“It’s a lot of games played for Jake in a shorter period of time than they wanted to do, and they hit a bit of a lull with their goal scoring. You put those two things together and Jake is getting starts, not that he shouldn’t have gotten, but they were scheduled for Carter Hutton.
But no one, including Rivers, is discounting the job Hutton has done as of late.
“Has Carter Hutton played really well? Yes he has. He’s come up with a couple highlight reel saves and certainly saves that we’ll look at not just this year, but probably for the next decade and admire what he’s done. But he’s also had some goals that squeaked through that we’re willing to overlook because he’s gotten the results.”
The Note are back in action Tuesday at Scottrade Center as the Panthers come to town for a 7 pm puck drop. Stay tuned to 101ESPN and 101Sports.com for plenty more Blues coverage and analysis as the season rolls on.