When making the decision to promote rookie goalie Jake Allen from the minors even though veterans Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott were healthy, St. Louis Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong had obviously grown tired of waiting for things to change.
He decided to change them himself.
So even though Halak and Elliott were coming off an award-winning season --one in which they posted the NHL's lowest goals-against average and save percentage and combined for a record 15 shutouts -- Armstrong did not hesitate to summon Allen from Peoria.
The Blues still rank last in the NHL in save percentage (.869) and 25th in goals-against average (3.04), but Allen is 5-1 in six starts and right now is giving the team a chance to win each time he plays.
"He's played well and he's given us victories," Armstrong said Monday. "We started the road trip and weren't getting the result that we needed, so we had to adjust. We felt that it was necessary to give him another opportunity. Points are at a premium and he's played very well in his two starts since then."
The Blues open a three-game homestand Tuesday against San Jose.
With a little less than half the season remaining, the Blues (13-10-2) began Monday with the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
They are one point out of fourth place, but also only six points out of last.
Enter Allen, who has been handed another opportunity to seize more playing time.
"We're day-to-day and game-to-game right now," Armstrong said of the goaltending situation. "We're right in that middle of the pack of those playoff teams anywhere from three to 12. Our focus is on the next game, I'm not too worried about rubbing a crystal ball about what might happen next. I think Jaro and Elliott would be fine, but in a shortened season we felt it was necessary to make a move."
Armstrong probably isn't the only one surprised by the Blues' struggling goaltending.
"Based on last year, we thought that position would be something of a strength," Armstrong said. "I think not playing during the lockout was very difficult on a lot of goalies; you're seeding that around the league and our two are no different. Since he's been playing since October, (Allen) is much more physically and mentally in game shape."
Halak is 5-3 with a 2.38 goals-against average and .881 save percentage with two shutouts. Elliott has been unable to recapture the magic of last season, dropping to 3-6 in 11 appearances with a 3.65 goals-against average and .851 save percentage.
"Our goals-against average and our save percentage are not just reflective on the goalies, it's reflective in our team," Armstrong said.
At various times the Blues have had trouble winning at home (5-5-1 vs. 8-5-1 on the road), protecting leads, committing turnovers, killing penalties and finding timely goals.
The Blues are also 3-for-29 on the power play over the last 11 games, even though they have been first or second in the NHL all season.
"We were hoping that we were past that, the fluctuation in our own game plan," Armstrong said. "We have too big of a variety of game that we put on the ice on a day-to-day basis. You have to have that consistency from within, not situationally-motivated or record-motivated. Right now we're struggling to find that."
Armstrong does believe the Blues are trending better following a 2-3 road trip.
"I thought we played pretty good on this road trip even though we went 2-3," he said. " The Dallas game (a 4-1 loss) I felt we let slip away from us, but after that I thought the players really competed hard against L.A. I think we're turning the right away, but we have to start playing better at home."
Armstrong said rumors about the Blues seeking help for the left side of the defense are nothing new.
The Blues have added veteran Wade Redden to a mix that includes Barret Jackman, Kris Russell and Ian Cole.
"That's an area that we looked at over the summer," Armstrong said. "Right now we have seven guys and I think it's a mistake to think that these guys can't get the job done. They have no choice, they have to get the job done."
Armstrong said injured forwards Andy McDonald (knee) and Alex Steen (shoulder) are skating and nearing a return.
"We're hoping to get them sometime on the homestand, but if not it will be quickly after that," Armstrong said.
Blues rookie winger Vladimir Tarasenko remains out with a concussion.
"He's been doing light skating, but nothing team-oriented," Armstrong said. "You never know with those (concussion), so that one is what it is."