Sabres' Hutton learned plenty from Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton suffered a one-goal loss in Nashville

Paul Hamilton
December 03, 2018 - 10:15 pm

Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

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Nashville, TN (WGR 550) - Carter Hutton started his career in Chicago, but only played one game. For the next three seasons, Hutton played in Nashville backing up Pekka Rinne. In 75 games with the Predators, Hutton went 33-23-12 with a 2.55 goals-against and .910 save percentage. Hutton said he took away a lot from his experience here, “It was mostly making Pekka coffee most of the time,” Hutton said with a laugh. “I learned a lot he was a great mentor to me and I think it was good for me in the sense of and there isn’t a ton of pressure on you playing once in a while and I really learned how to be a pro.

“I learned how to play once every two weeks and that slowly built my mental toughness in the league.”

In the three seasons Hutton was with Rinne, there was one thing he really took away from him, “The thing for me that was an eye opener was you always think that you work hard and then you see him and an elite guy and you’re staring down at the far end and you’re seeing him out work you, so he makes everybody do better and I take pride in having that same kind of mindset.”

Hutton was never drafted and was never traded. The 32-year-old spent three years in the minors before being signed by Nashville. The Blues inked him as a free agent as did the Sabres. Hutton enjoyed his time in Nashville and still likes coming back, “Of course, it’s a fun city and a lot of memories and I have a lot of good friends on that team so it’s fun."

Hutton seems to have the knack of making the big save at the big time. Hutton said,“It’s sticking with it, it’s not always going to be perfect and we play a position that is very humbling, the ups and downs you have to stick with it throughout a season and when you get the opportunity late in a game, you have to relish those moments and for me it’s more mental, I just try to set myself up well mentally to compete and be ready, especially in those situations when they’re going to pull their goalie and be ready to come.

“You’re always under the microscope, but that’s goaltending. For me not a lot changes. I put a lot of pride into the way I prepare, unless there’s something glaring in my game that we need to work on and Andrew is great with that stuff.”

Hutton spent two years in St. Louis, going 30-15-5 with a 2.23 goals-against and a sparking .923 save percentage.

While with the Blues, Hutton played five games against the Preds going 0-2-1 with a 2.63 goals-against and .909 save percentage.

In the first period Monday, Hutton made harder saves than Rinne did. Early on, Rocco Grimaldi tipped a Roman Josi shot from the corner forcing Hutton to be sharp.

Hutton had to stop Colton Sissons on an odd man rush and turned the puck over himself to Austin Watson who pulled the puck in front, but Hutton bailed himself out.

Hutton made the big save on a Ryan Hartman one-timer, but it didn’t help him while his team was shorthanded. Nashville moved the puck around well and Ryan Ellis ripped a one-timer from the left circle to score the only goal of the period.

Hutton made 10 saves in the first period, while Rinne had eight fairly easy stops.

The Sabres kicked it into high gear for the first 10 minutes of the second period, allowing just one Nashville shot on Hutton. That all of a sudden changed as the Sabres stopped playing again and the Predators had the last seven shots of the period.

Ramus Ristolainen fanned on a pass about five feet in front of Hutton, but the goaltender got his pad on Sissons' shot.

The goal came when Kevin Fiala got rid of the puck quickly from the top of the circle. Casey Nelson screened Hutton and deflected it by him.

Through two periods, Hutton had 17 saves while Rinne stopped 14 pucks.

In the first eight seconds of the third period, Josi was alone in front, but Hutton didn't allow him to cash in on a power play rebound.

Hutton kept it a one-goal game, making a big save on Hartman, who was alone in front. That's the big save I always talk about that he makes when needed.

In the third period, Hutton only had to make five saves and 23 on the game. He was very upset live on the post-game, showing frustration in losing a game where the team only gives up two goals.

The Sabres spent way too much time trying to stickhandle through the Nashville defense. Phil Housley said they had plays designed to beat the Nashville lock, but they didn't execute them.

Now, the team has to change time zones and face the waiting Toronto Maple Leafs at the arena on Tuesday night.

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