While St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen didn't get to play in the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, he helped his team the only way he knew how...
By imitating Tuukka Rask.
"I'd try to act like Rask, skate like Rask, and try to imitate what he does that is different," Allen said, according to NHL.com's Kevin Woodley. "Just the way he holds himself and how low he looks, but his chest is forward and a lot of little things he does specific to his game. We'd go back on all the goals he let in, find tendencies, and try to imitate them to show guys a few clips that Dave could voice over and I'd be in net. ... We broke it down in very layman's terms, so I think everyone understood."
The whole idea of mimicking Rask was to provide the Blues with useful information beyond just watching video of the Boston Bruins goaltender.
"You're looking at guys that play completely opposite styles of game, sizes, techniques, gear," Allen said. "So, I said, 'Why don't we try to implement something where we can show the boys what this guy does compared to that guy and ways we can potentially score?' The optical illusion each of those guys have, that they look bigger than they are in certain positions, is different in the net and I think that's what we were trying to create from an understanding standpoint for the players. If it caused a goal or two in the playoffs, then we did our job."
Allen was a big part of the Blues' goaltending situation before Jordan Binnington arrived. Brayden Schenn and Ryan O'Reilly found it especially helpful -- as they are two of St. Louis' best goal scorers.
Schenn said he'd never seen anything like it, and it helped him understand Rask's tendencies. O'Reilly said it didn't make the series, but helped the team immensely in preparation for each game.
Through the first three rounds --17 playoff games -- Rask had a .942 save percentage, in the Cup Final it dropped to .912. While the team in front of him was solid defensively, they failed to tally goals when it mattered, particularly in Game 7.
So, it seems Allen's mimicry worked -- but it probably wasn't the reason why the Blues won the Stanley Cup. The B's did push the series to seven games, after all.
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