It is hard to fill the shoes of an elite goaltender like Pekke Rinne, but it appears as if for one night, Carter Hutton showed the Nashville Predators that things will be OK for the time being.
Hutton stopped all but one shot that he faced and helped the Predators ease a bit and obtain a win after struggling before taking the ice against the New York Rangers. The offense for the Predators did their job as well, but the thing about hockey is that it takes a couple shots, saves and chances to give the team momentum. Hutton did all that he could and then some to make sure that the game stayed close enough for his offense to respond and score. The score was only 2-1 at the end of the second intermission, so it was still anyone’s game. However, Hutton did his job and shut out the Rangers’ offense. For a goaltender who has not had a lot of opportunities to play, he took full advantage of a what seems to be rare start and did his best to prove that he can do well in the NHL.
I believe that Hutton did well enough to be considered to start a couple more games while Rinne recovers from a hip injury. With the other backup goaltender Marek Mazanec going winless in his last five starts, it was time for the Predators to see what Hutton had to bring to the table. Keep in mind too that Hutton has not started a game since Nov. 10, so putting in a goaltender who could be rusty is a risky play at best. But the gamble paid off for the Predators.
Perhaps this is a step that the team needed in order to bounce back and recover from their slow start to the season and perhaps make some noise. But it is always great to see a goaltender that does not get to play often make the most of his chances when given a shot, and Carter Hutton did exactly that.