|Allen will take over for Elliott on Wednesday night. (Getty Images)|
The St. Louis Blues are mired in a five-game losing streak, and goaltender Brian Elliott is mired in a season-long slump. So on Wednesday night in Detroit, coach Ken Hitchcock will turn to rookie Jake Allen to start in net.
It's not terribly surprising. Two games ago, Hitchcock said that if Jaroslav Halak weren't ready to come back from his injury, then Allen would play. Halak was all set to start until he realized in warmups that he couldn't go, and the Blues were forced to start Elliott. The result was a 4-1 loss.
Now, with Halak out a few more weeks, Hitchcock has a healthy alternative to Elliott and he's going to use him against the Red Wings.
"I have no idea how this is going to turn out," Hitchcock, one of the best quotes in hockey, honestly admitted.
This season with AHL Peoria, Allen has a 12-16-2-2 record (man, I love that three-point system) with a 2.94 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. So he was hardly lighting the league on fire, but right now he's clearly a preferable option than Elliott. We detailed his struggles here (he has been really, really bad).
Just as you'd expect, Allen is pretty psyched about getting his first NHL start. It probably only adds to it that it's against a team like Detroit.
"It's a great feeling. It's something you work for your whole life," Allen said Wednesday morning. "You want to make the most of it."
If Allen does make the most of it and turns in a good performance, it will be interesting to see how willing Hitchcock is to go back to him. Elliott needs a wakeup call, a rest ... something to get him on track. Maybe being pushed by a rookie can help.
It's kind of funny to look back to last season, when the Blues were dealing goaltender Ben Bishop to Ottawa because they had no room with Halak and Elliott playing so well in the NHL.