NHL Network Analyst E.J. Hradek joined Frank Cusumano on The Press Box to discuss the Blues’ remarkable turnaround following the firing of Ken Hitchcock and give his thoughts on the Blues chances of sweeping the Wild.
Read a couple excerpts and listen to the full conversation below:
On Jake Allen’s incredible performance this series:
“Jake Allen has been the best goalie in the playoffs so far through the first three games. He was outstanding in Game 1 (and let them know he can bail them out). That’s been the difference-maker for me. It’s got to be personally gratifying for him…because two years ago he struggled in Games 5 and 6 against the Wild. This year, he’s been a totally different player.”
On Martin Brodeur’s impact on Jake Allen:
“I mean clearly he’s had a major impact on Jake. The Blues have been really high on Jake Allen. They gave him a contract extension. They let Brian Elliott move on. But he’s had some struggles. He had too much inconsistency. Martin Brodeur…since he’s come in has been a fantastic influence on him. He’s helped give Jake some confidence. He’s rolled right in the playoffs with that.”
On the effect of the Wild playing inconsistent hockey coming into the playoffs:
“They had a great first half of the season. In the last six weeks, they really struggled. Devan Dubnyk hadn’t been nearly as good. He had a lot of struggles down the stretch. They’ve had a confidence issue there. You have one team coming in (in the Blues) feeling great about themselves. And the other team really having some questions about where they’re at as a group and that’s been reflected in their play so far.”