One could argue that the Calgary Flames weren’t sharp enough with their shots last night, however the simple yet efficient game Jake Allen plays made them aim a little tighter to the post.
This forced the Flames players pucks to strike iron and bounce out rather than going into the net. It was Jake Allen’s overall game that forced his opponents to make that adjustment. The goalie looked poised in his net with the calm and stability that the team needed to build from. Only a puck that bounced off of his own teammate managed to beat him.
On top of the calm that Allen oozed last night, he tracked the puck well, he reacted fast when there was a rebound to be controlled and he was repositioning himself fast. While the Montreal Canadiens’ goalie pipeline is strong with Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven, Charlie Lindgren and Vasily Demchenko all taking turns in Laval, it is doubtful that any of these goalies could have stood out and carried the team in such a game as last night’s. This win was Jake Allen’s, he did something few back up goalies have done behind Carey Price: he carried the team.
Everyone remembers the saves, and the opposing team will remember the shots hitting the posts asking themselves ‘what if?’ and they are right. If the three shots that rang off the post of Allen’s goal had gone in, the outcome of this game would have been different.
However, the fact is that Allen made Flames players aim differently, to shoot closer to the posts because the Montreal goalie played that well. A former goalie in Sweden, Leif ‘Honken’ Holmqvist coined the expression “the posts are my best friends”. Last night it was the posts that were the best friends that Allen had on the ice, but he earned those friends the hard way, by making good saves to begin with.
Sometimes you have to be good to be lucky, and you have to be lucky to be good.