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Allen, Blues stop Sharks

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues rookie goalie Jake Allen is in the middle of a dream.

He doesn't want to wake up anytime soon.

Allen made a season-high 39 saves, and Chris Stewart scored twice to help the Blues take a 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

David Perron and Chris Porter also scored for St. Louis, which won for the third time in four games.

Allen improved to 6-1 with his first home-ice win of the season.

Brent Burns and Dan Boyle tallied for the Sharks, who lost their fourth in a row.

The Blues gave up a season-high 41 shots, and Allen made 18 saves in a hectic second period, including back-to-back stops from close range while nursing a 2-1 lead.

He continues to be the surprise of the NHL. Allen lowered his goals-against average to 2.63 and improved his save percentage to .903.

"It's been a whirlwind three or four weeks," Allen said. "I'm really fortunate and thankful that I got this opportunity, and I just want to make the most of it."

The 22-year-old has came from out of nowhere to become a savior for the Blues, who began the season with two strong goalies, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.

However, Elliott struggled over the past month, and Halak has been slowed by a nagging groin injury. That forced the previously untested Allen into action.

Allen won his first three starts, all on the road, and he also has won his past three outings. He was particularly impressive Tuesday, avenging his only loss -- a 2-1 setback to San Jose on Feb. 19.

"He's doing the simple things," defenseman Barret Jackman said, "and he's coming up big. He's making the simple saves and covering up the rebounds."

Allen, who began the season in the minors, stopped the first 20 shots he faced Tuesday. He then helped his team regain the momentum in the middle of the game.

"We needed him in the second period, and he came through for us," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's competing at a high level."

Allen held onto leads of 2-1 and 3-2 with one key save after another. Even San Jose coach Todd McLellan was impressed with the red-hot rookie.

"The good goalies steal games like that," he said. "Your goalie is going to have to do that for you throughout the season, and he did it tonight."

Allen made the most stops of any Blues goalie this season.

Porter tallied the eventual game-winner with his first goal of the season. He pounded home a rebound off a shot from Jackman with 6.8 seconds left in the second period to push the Blues' lead to 3-1.

"I've had a lot of chances in the last few games, and I'm glad to finally find the back of the net," Porter said. "(Jackman) made the play, putting it on the net, and I was happy to be there."

San Jose climbed to within 3-2 on Boyle's fourth goal of the season with 6:28 left in the third period. The tally came as the Sharks held a two-man advantage.

But Allen was flawless down the stretch.

"It doesn't matter if they get 15 shots or 40 shots, I've still got to stop the puck," Allen said. "I've learned to be ready for anything."

Allen likely will start again Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes in the second game of a three-game homestand.

Stewart, who now has 11 goals, added an empty-net marker with 1:16 remaining to put the game away.

St. Louis jumped out to a 2-0 advantage by scoring twice on their first 12 shots against goalie Antti Niemi, who fell to 10-5-5.

Stewart converted on a wrist shot to put the Blues up 1-0 midway through the first period.

Perron used his left skate to deflect in a pass from Patrik Berglund at 10:39 of the second period for a 2-0 cushion. Berglund has a point in each of his last four games.

Burns, returning to the lineup for the first time since injuring his leg Feb. 23, converted from the slot just 62 seconds after the Perron goal. Burns, normally a defenseman, was making his debut on the forward line. The move was made in an effort to spark the offense, which has scored two or fewer regulation goals in each of San Jose's past 11 road games.

"If I play forward, I've got to play around the net," Burns said. "I think that will be my game."

St. Louis winger T.J. Oshie left the contest midway through the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. The slumping Oshie has just four points in the last 14 games.

"We'll have more evaluation tomorrow," Hitchcock said.

The Blues have won 10 of the past 12 meetings with San Jose, including a five-game series triumph in the Western Conference quarterfinals last season.

NOTES: Boyle had a game-high seven shots on goal. ... This was the third and final meeting between the teams this season. ... The San Jose back line has scored just seven goals this season. ... St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko missed his ninth consecutive game with a concussion. ... The Sharks have two just regulation wins in their last 20 games. ... St. Louis came into the game allowing a league-low 23.3 shots per contest. ... The Blues played the Stompin' Tom Connors classic, "The Hockey Song," during a timeout in third period as a tribute to the Canadian folk singer who died last week at age 77. ... Jackman picked up two assists, and he now has eight for the season.
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