DENVER — Jake Allen has been mostly a spectator during St. Louis’ winning streak. He joined the party Saturday.
Allen made 32 saves in just his second start in a month, Vladimir Tarasenko and Zach Sanford scored 57 seconds apart in the third period and the Blues beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Saturday for their ninth straight victory.
The winning streak is the Blues’ longest since also winning nine in a row from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.
"We’re confident but the team really understands the work that has to be put in game to game," St. Louis interim coach Craig Berube said.
Allen was the No. 1 goaltender for the Blues earlier this season, but has been supplanted by rookie Jordan Binnington. Binnington is 11-1-1 in 13 games and has won his last seven starts, pushing Allen to a backup role.
"I’ve been so happy for the guys, so happy for Binner the way he’s been playing," Allen said. "He’s been the best goalie in the league for the last month. He deserves to play."
The 28-year-old veteran has relied on experience to adjust to his new status.
"I’ve been through the same scenario many times, it’s nothing new to me," said Allen, who is 3-0 against the Avalanche this season. "I treat my practices like my game and come in here and go out there and have some fun."
Allen has two shutouts this season and 18 overall. St. Louis hasn’t allowed a goal in 127 minutes, 14 seconds.
Colorado ended an eight-game losing streak Thursday night in Winnipeg but couldn’t build on that win. The Avalanche have lost six in a row at home.
"We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we just have to keep pounding ahead," Colorado forward Mikko Rantanen said. "There’s a lot of games left. This was a really important game and it sucks to lose. We can’t get stuck in the mud, we have to forget and move on."
The Blues outshot Colorado 25-19 through the first two periods, but couldn’t get one past Semyon Varlamov until Tarasenko broke through with his 25th goal at 4:01 of the third.
"Couple mistakes, one in the (offensive) zone and the other in the (defensive) zone," Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. "Giving up an odd-man rush was the difference in the hockey game."
After Colorado nearly scored at the other end, Sanford scored on an ensuing odd-man rush, tipping Oskar Sundqvist’s pass past Varlamov at 4:58 for his seventh of the season. Tarasenko also assisted on the goal.
Allen then stopped Rantanen on a break and denied Carl Soderberg at the doorstep to keep the Avalanche off the board and contribute to the winning streak.
"Whenever I get in there, like everyone else, you’ve got big shoes to fill," Allen said. "Right now we’re rolling in the right direction and we’re not done yet."
Allen’s teammates praise the goaltender’s attitude and work ethic while Binnington has taken over as the No. 1 goaltender.
"It’s not been easy," defenceman Alex Pietrangelo said. "He didn’t play for a while, against Nashville comes in and makes almost 50 saves, and then tonight. Nothing but a pro."
Varlamov came off for an extra skater with 2:20 left, and Jaden Schwartz scored into an empty net at 18:24.
NOTES: St. Louis LW Alexander Steen was away from the team to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s child. Robby Fabbri played in his place after being a healthy scratch for 10 straight games. … Pietrangelo left briefly in the first period after taking a shot off his knee. He said he lost feeling in his foot but was fine when it returned a few minutes later. … Colorado is 0 for 23 on the power play over its last eight games.
St. Louis: At Minnesota on Sunday.
Colorado: Hosts Vegas on Monday night.