Sharks vs. Blues, Game 4: Martin Jones should start game five
It's not time to make a change.
St. Louis scored four times on 19 shots against Martin Jones on Saturday. Jones won't think fondly about this game in the coming months and years, but it also shouldn't be the start of a goaltender controversy in Silicon Valley. Yeah, Jones didn't stop as many pucks as he did in games one and two (obviously) but it would be foolhardy to blame the goalie for the abysmal play in front of him.
Only two of the Blues' six goals came at even strength, four of those against Jones, one against Reimer and another on an empty net. Two of the St. Louis goals scored on Jones came at even strength and none of the four he allowed could be remotely described as soft.
Reimer came in after goal number four to gives Jones a rest, not to supplant him as the playoff starter. Admittedly I didn't see many fans blaming Jones for the poor first and second periods, so this article is more about putting out potential fires than heading out to douse ones that have already sparked.
Goaltending didn't make the difference in game four. Jake Allen posted an .897 at even strength, which would be talked about a lot more on a night where the Sharks didn't allow six goals. All three of those goals came after the Blues took their foot off the gas, but you can bet Allen will get some credit for helping the Blues right the ship. I know, bad analysis in the playoffs? In the NHL? Wild stuff.
Reimer saved six of seven shots he faced, the only goal he allowed came on the power play. He's a good goaltender and it's great that the Sharks have such a solid option as a backup. That doesn't mean it's time to make a change, of course, but San Jose having a top-notch goalie sitting on the bench makes it all the more likely a bad game from Jones spells a change in net.
Those are the scoring chances against the Sharks on Saturday night. The Blues had 14 while the Sharks had 34 — and San Jose led in scoring chances throughout the contest. The Sharks played quite well through the first three games and got the majority of the bounces in the second and third.
In a series this tight, the team with the best luck is the one that will head to the Stanley Cup FInals — there are areas for the Sharks to clean up in game four, but getting luckier wouldn't hurt. That extends to goaltending, too.