Allen hopeful to return to net fully healthy against Golden Knights
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Blues have three players poised to make their season debuts against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night, but the biggest question surrounding the team this week is the uncertainty in goal.
Starting goalie Jake Allen left Saturday’s 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks late in the second period after a collision with teammate Zach Sanford.
Goalie Ville Husso was recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio and skated with backup Chad Johnson in practice Monday and Tuesday, but Husso was sent back to the Rampage after Allen skated Tuesday and Wednesday.
Allen, who went through concussion protocol, said he’s ready to go against the Golden Knights if head coach Mike Yeo decides to put him in the lineup.
“It was a hard play to the net. I just made a save and it was a tough blow to the side of the head,” Allen told NHL.com. “I was really (shaken) up at the time. It was the right decision to take me out. It took a little bit of time to gather myself. But after that, I was OK.”
Forwards Robby Fabbri, Nikita Soshnikov and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson could all make their season debuts against Vegas.
Fabbri, who just completed a three-game conditioning assignment in San Antonio, has not played in a regular-season game since tearing the ACL in his left knee against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 4, 2017.
“I think what we have to find out here is how close is he to 100 percent,” Yeo told NHL.com. “His hundred percent for me is pretty high. That’s a pretty high level. That’s going back to a level that I saw him play at two years ago.”
Gunnarsson is also returning from an ACL tear and hip surgery. He is coming off a two-game stint with San Antonio.
“That was the last kind of speed, get to game speed and all that, so a good test, and two pretty good games,” Gunnarsson told NHL.com. “That was the last test, it held up well, I feel good, so green light. Now it’s just up to the coaches.”
The Blues went 1-0-2 against the Golden Knights last season.
Vegas is coming off of a 4-1 loss at Nashville on Tuesday. Forward Ryan Hartman scored twice for the Predators as the Golden Knight allowed four straight goals.
“For me, we played the perfect road period against a real good team in the first (period),” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “And then after that, we made some real bad mistakes and it cost us goals every time.”
Forward Reilly Smith scored a power play goal in the first period for the Golden Knights, but after putting 13 shots on net in the first, Vegas was held to 11 shots in the final two periods.
“We made a couple mistakes maybe over-forechecking and not covering for each other as well as we should, and they did a good job capitalizing on odd-man rushes,” Smith told the Review-Journal. “I think it was a game tailored to them where they just threw a lot of pucks to the neutral zone and waited for bounces. They were able to capitalize on them.”