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|# 08 Oct, 2018 07:45|
ST. LOUIS — A month ago Jonathan Drouin Jersey , St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen was saddled to the bench. Now he’s the league’s second star.
Allen went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in wins over Boston, Vancouver and Columbus last week. The Blues’ 2-1 win on Saturday ended the Blue Jackets‘ 10-game winning streak.
“We’ve got a good thing going right now,” Allen told NHL.com. “I just happened to get the honor.
It’s not a huge deal. Right now, we’re headed in the right direction. Seven games left, a big one tomorrow and looking forward to it.”
Allen earned the second star behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and ahead of Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor.
Allen went 2-13-0 from Dec. 14-Feb. 25. During that span, Carter Hutton went 11-5-0 and earned the majority of the playing time before being sidelined due to an injury.
With Hutton shelved, Allen found his game again.
“Both have had really good years for us and obviously there was a time where with Jake, maybe it wasn’t going as well,” Blues coach Mike Yeo told NHL.com. “We could point to the goal scoring, we could point to a number of things, but I think by his standards, I think by our standards, we knew that there was another level there and certainly we’re seeing it right now with Jake.
“But Carter’s play during that time, that was real important for the group. You need two goalies in the NHL right now. The days of a guy being in the net for 70 games a year and being problem-free for the whole season Authentic Joe Pavelski Jersey , it’s too difficult not. It’s too much parity, it’s too much with all the schedules, too demanding. The importance of two goaltenders probably has never been more important.”
Hutton returned to practice on Monday and likely will get a start over the weekend when the Blues have back-to-back road games in Vegas and Arizona.
Allen figures to get the nod as the Blues host the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night. St. Louis had won five straight and entered Monday holding the second wild card in the Western Conference.
The Blues are 0-2-0 against the Sharks this season, including a 2-0 loss in San Jose on March 8.
The Sharks won their eighth straight, edging the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout on Monday. It is tied for the third-longest winning streak in Sharks history and is their longest since winning nine straight from Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2008.
Kevin Labanc scored the game-winner in the fifth round of the shootout and Martin Jones made 28 saves.
“It wasn’t pretty for a lot of it,” Jones told NHL.com. “But we found a way to win, and we’ve been doing that a lot lately, so that’s a good sign.”
Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said the team cannot get complacent.
“Our game’s still in a good spot, but it has to go back up a level instead of trending down,” Pavelski told NHL.com. “We understand where we’re at, what time of the season it is, what needs to be done.”
Recent history would indicate that the NFC South is among the NFL’s strongest divisions.
Three of its four teams — New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina — made the playoffs last season. The Falcons are only two seasons removed from an overtime loss in the Super Bowl.
Yet http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/jordan-wilkins-jersey , in today’s NFL, fortunes have been known to vacillate widely from one year to the next.
“Obviously, there is parity in our league,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “What I mean by that is, teams very quickly can improve themselves in the division. You see that each year.”
Payton has urged his players to take the approach that they are “starting from square one and it’s an entirely different year.”
But it’s tough to entirely drown out the expectations surrounding a club that won 11 of its last 14 regular-season games and beat the Panthers in the playoffs before nearly advancing to the NFC title game. Only an unlikely 61-yard touchdown pass play by the Vikings as time expired prevented the Saints from going to Philadelphia.
Much of New Orleans’ success stemmed from young players — namely running back Alvin Kamara and cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the 2017 offensive and defensive rookie award winners. Many other key players— Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas, right guard Ryan Ramczyk, safeties Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams, defensive tackles Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata, cornerback Ken Crawley, and linebacker Alex Anzalone — have been in the NFL two or fewer years.
That gave the Saints the luxury of approaching the past offseason with the mission of refining rather than overhauling.
“We probably feel like we have fewer holes,” general manager Mickey Loomis said. “Overall, we’ve got a young team … and I’m anxious to see how those guys develop and get better — and I think we feel good about that.”
Here are some other NFC South story lines in 2018:
ELDER STATESMAN: For all of the Saints’ promising youth, their most important player still might be their eldest: 39-year-old Drew Brees.
There’s little evidence of a drop-off yet. Last season he completed an NFL-record 72 percent of his passes and his eight interceptions were his lowest since throwing seven with the Chargers in 2004.
But he might have to throw more this season than last — at least early on. Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram is suspended the first four games for use of a banned substance.
The good news for New Orleans is the entire offensive line is intact after strong showings in both the running and passing games in 2017.
“If they’re playing well Milan Lucic Jersey Kids , then you’re able to open up the offense in a way that makes us very dangerous,” Brees said. “This group is one of the best we’ve had.”
Brees also has two of his top receivers back in Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr., along with two promising new targets in free-agent acquisition Cameron Meredith and rookie Tre’Quan Smith.
STAR TREATMENT: The Falcons have taken measures to make sure two key playmakers, wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Devonta Freeman, are healthy to start the season. Neither played in a preseason game.
Jones said he was focused on his health when he missed mandatory minicamp. He had minor surgery on his left foot after the 2016 season and had two ankle injuries, plus injuries to his back, ribs, thumb and knee last season. Even so, he had 88 catches for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns.
Last year, Freeman had two concussions and was slowed by a knee problem.
The Falcons led the NFL in scoring in their 2016 Super Bowl season but fell back to the middle of the pack last year.
Quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t sound worried whether Jones or Freeman will be in form when it counts
“Not with those two,” Ryan said. “They both have played so much football and they both practice so much that I don’t really see them missing a beat.”
ANOTHER GEAR: The Panthers sought to get faster in the offseason to compete with the Saints, who beat them three times last season, including in the wild-card round. They’ve added speed at wide receiver Emmitt Smith Jersey , trading for Torrey Smith, signing free agent Jarius Wright and drafting D.J. Moore from Maryland in the first round. Coach Ron Rivera is also hoping 2017 second-round pick Curtis Samuel can stay healthy, unlike last season. Those receivers and versatile running back Christian McCaffrey could give QB Cam Newton a lot of reasons not to run himself.
Carolina also went in the Saints’ backyard to get help on defense, drafting LSU cornerback Donte Jackson — considered one of the fastest players in college a year ago — in the second round.
TAKING ON WATER: The Bucs lost 10 of 13 following a 2-1 start a year ago, missing the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. Their chances of escaping the division cellar and ending the long drought will be impacted by how they play without QB Jameis Winston, who’ll miss the first three games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
After opening on the road at New Orleans, home games follow against defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. An 0-3 start could be difficult to overcome, even if Winston plays well when he returns.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH: Saints, Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers.
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