The Nashville Predators have managed to win five of their first ten games despite ranking 27th in the league in goals per game (1.9). On Thursday, they will go for their sixth win of the young season with goaltender Carter Hutton getting the start. Hutton has only made two prior starts in the NHL, and one this season, but an injury that will keep Pekka Rinne sidelined for up to a month has now opened the door for the young netminder to shine. In his first start for the Predators last Sunday, Hutton stopped 38 of 39 Winnipeg Jets shots to get his first career win. On Thursday night, he’ll once again face those Jets, and will have a chance to show that he is capable of more starts for the Predators.
The Predators recalled Magnus Hellberg from the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL to back up Hutton for Thursday’s game. Hellberg is a 2011 second-round pick who was impressive in recording 22 wins as an AHL rookie last season. Hutton is in his first year with the Predators, after two seasons in the Chicago Blackhawks organization and one season split between the AHL affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers and San Jose Sharks. He’s 27 years old and has definitely paid his dues in the minor leagues, but the Predators are surely a little nervous given his lack of NHL experience.
The Jets have lost six of their last eight games, scoring two goals or fewer in five of those losses. That should give Hutton a fair chance tonight, especially with a continually-improving defense in front of him. Shea Weber is back to form and rookie Seth Jones has proven capable of playing more than 24 minutes per game. If the offense can help Hutton out a little, he can get a huge confidence boost with his second win.