BUFFALO, N.Y. • The Blues’ goalie tandem of Jake Allen and Brian Elliott appears to be back in full swing.
Allen posted a 23-save shutout in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres, which came on the heals of Elliott’s 2-1 win over Tampa Bay.
“The last two games, our goalies have been our best players,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “There’s some games you need your goalie, and we’ve had two games in a row now where we’ve really needed our goaltender.”
With Thursday’s win, Allen improved to 15-5-2 this season, lowering his goals-against average to 2.49 and improving his save-percentage to .906. After going 0-2-1 in a recent stretch, which led to a long layoff, he has now won his last four decisions.
“I feel great,” Allen said. “I’ve honestly felt good all year. I’ve had a couple of (average) games, but I knew that was going to happen. It’s still a big learning curve for me, but I’m just looking at the big picture, just giving the guys a chance to win. But ever since the new year, I feel really refreshed, mentally good and ready to go. I love playing for this team and it’s been fun so far.”
Allen’s third shutout of the season put him in a group with Brent Johnson, Ernie Wakely and Curtis Sanford as the only four Blues goalies to record at least three shutouts in their rookie season.
“He just looks so calm in the net right now,” Hitchcock said. “It’s a good feeling, a good feeling for everybody.”
Blues forward Patrik Berglund was back in the lineup Thursday, after missing three games with a shoulder injury.
Berglund played 10 minutes, 33 seconds and was a plus-1. He centered a line with Dmitrij Jaskin on the left and Ty Rattie on the right, meaning Joakim Lindstrom was a healthy scratch.
“The line was good,” Hitchcock said. “I thought we got a great boost from Bergy. Bergy was really a good player today.”
STEWART STILL A SABRE
Former Blue Chris Stewart came into Thursday’s game with six points (four goals, two assists) in his last six games, but he was held off the board.
Stewart, whom the Blues dealt to Buffalo last season for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, continues to be rumored in trade speculation. It hasn’t happened yet, but with the Sabres struggling again this season, he’s a candidate to leave by the March 2 deadline.
“We’ve got some guys who could be very beneficial to some playoff teams,” Buffalo coach Ted Nolan told reporters. “I’m quite sure they’re anxious and think about it on a daily basis. I mentioned to a couple of them, the only way you’ll see that is not hoping, but to make it happen and to play well and maybe someone wants you. If not, make us want you. It’s a Catch-22.”
Tickets for a special screening of “38 : Pavol Demitra,” a movie chronicling the life and career of former Blues forward Pavol Demitra, will go on sale Friday at 11 a.m.
The event is March 8 at 7 p.m. at Peabody Opera House. Tickets are $38 and proceeds will benefit the Blues 14 Fund and the Pavol Demitra Fund. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or on the Blues’ website.
Demitra played eight seasons with the Blues (1996-2004) before dying in a plane crash with his Russian hockey team in 2011.