In a decision that some may find surprising, St. Louis Blues' head coach Ken Hitchcock has decided on his goaltender for his team's all important Game 5 clash against the San Jose Sharks.
Hitchcock has elected to stick with goaltender Jake Allen for Monday night's game, despite the fact that Allen surrendered three-third period goals on Saturday. Allen did make 31 saves in the 6-3 victory in Game 4, his first action of these playoffs.
This move is surprising considering the stellar play of goaltender Brian Elliott, who has posted a .925 save percentage in the playoffs thus far. Hitchcock explained that the change was made, not because he was unhappy with Elliott's play, but because he felt his team was becoming to complacent with him in goal.
“What I was trying to explain to people, you need a good goalie. We had a really good goalie playing, but we were relying on the good goalie all the time. We weren’t playing for Ells. We were relying on him. There’s a big difference,” Hitchcock told reporters.
“(Elliott) was standing on his head and we were giving up too many quality scoring chances, too many easy chances, too many odd-man rushes. We were getting comfortable thinking that, in my opinion, the goalie could stop everything.
“We just needed to compete a lot harder for whoever was in goal. That was why I made the change. Had nothing to do with Brian. His play has been unbelievable since the start of playoffs. In my opinion, we needed to jolt ourselves into playing a lot harder for who was in the net.”
Hitchcock later added he’s “comfortable with either guy,” but said he made the decision after consulting with the coaching staff.