The Jake Allen story is getting more and more impressive with each start the young goaltender makes. When Allen arrived on the scene at the start of February, he brought much needed stability to the St. Louis crease. The team as a whole stepped up their game in front of Allen, ending their skid and putting up some big victories. However, despite Allen's record being nearly flawless, the other statistics pinned to his name were fairly pedestrian. That is, they were until his past few starts.
Jake Allen's February was glamorized because he righted a sinking ship. He was commended for getting the Blues back on track and for making the big save when the team needed it most. In this regard, he did a fantastic job. However, in terms of pure statistics, Allen's play was technically no better than Jaroslav Halak's. In February, Allen went 3-1-0 with a 2.63 GAA and a save percentage of .895%. Halak went 1-1-1 with a 2.09 GAA and a save percentage of .905.
Was Allen benefiting from the Blues simply picking up their game or was he truly standing tall between the pipes? The answer wasn't clear until the calendar flipped to March. Yes, Allen made some big saves in the month of February (like this one), but he's stepped his game up over the last couple of weeks.
In March, Allen is 5-0-0 with a 1.79 GAA and a save percentage of .939%. Now that's a line to drool over. If you were questioning whether Allen's record in February was a bit inflated, you won't have to worry about asking that same question in March. He now has as many wins (8) as Halak (5) and Elliott (3) combined. That's a stat no one could have expected prior to 2013.
In March, Allen has stopped 139 of 148 shots he's faced. In his last three games (SJ, PHX, ANH) he has stopped 94 of the last 97 shots he's faced.
Save such as this one against Anaheim...
Jake Allen's performance in a 2-1 OT win over Anaheim was arguably his best effort of the season. He's playing like a man with years of NHL experience, not like a man with 10 games of NHL experience.
Allen is leading NHL rookie goaltenders in nearly every statistic, including GAA, save percentage, wins and shutouts. In most of these categories he is leading by a healthy margin. No other NHL rookie goaltender is doing what Allen is doing (Anaheim's Viktor Fasth isn't a rookie by definition due to his age, 30). Because of this, he should be thrust into the Calder debate. At the very least, he should be a big part of the discussion as to who the NHL's most influential rookie has been in 2013.
We entered 2013 thinking Vladimir Tarasenko would be one of the names thrown around for the Calder trophy. No one could have guessed that a different Blue, one between the pipes, might be the team's best shot at winning the Calder.