Montreal Canadiens: Why Was Jake Allen Playing Every Night?

Apr 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens are playing out the string on a lost season and have been in that boat for a long time.

But, for some reason, they have been running their best healthy goaltender out every night as if they are in the midst of a heated playoff race.

The Canadiens have dealt with an incredible number of injuries this season, and are still waiting for Carey Price to make his season debut. Apparently he is close to getting back into a game, and will play this season even though there are only ten games remaining on the schedule.

In his absence, Jake Allen has taken over as the starting goaltender. But, late in the season, even he shouldn’t be shouldering an incredible workload. But, he has. Since returning to action from his own injury on March 17th, Allen has started 11 of the Habs past 12 games. He often plays well, but is getting absolutely pounded with shots every night.

Allen has faced at least 30 shots in every game since coming back from injury. He had a six game stretch recently where he faced at least 40 shots every game.

In a season where the only question left to answer is where will the team rank in the draft lottery, there really is no reason to start Allen every night. He was bound to get injured facing 40 shots per game.

And, he did.

With 6:28 left to play in the first period of last night’s contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Allen made his 14th save of the night on a redirected puck. He stretched out his left leg to awkwardly stop a slow rolling puck that unexpectedly changed direction in front of him.

The motion caused Allen to injure either his groin or leg and he immediately left the game.

Which really just begs the question, why was he playing every other night when the team’s fate has been sealed for months?

An argument could be made, though unlikely, but it is possible the Canadiens could contend for a playoff spot as soon as next season. That would depend on a number of things, but most importantly would be a healthy goaltending tandem of Carey Price and Jake Allen.

Price had offseason surgery and we saw how complicated that can get for a goaltender. He was supposed to be ready near the start of the regular season and he hasn’t played a game yet.

You can’t wrap everyone in bubble wrap or just sit everyone out to avoid injury. However, it doesn’t make sense to have Allen playing six games in a row where he faces over 40 shots.

The top priority for the Canadiens should be icing a much better team next season. Their best shot at climbing the standings substantially a year from now is to have Price and Allen at the top of their games.

That can’t happen if Allen has to have hip surgery or he blows his knee in the last couple weeks of this lost season.

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