The Sabres don't play well in front of Hutton

The Buffalo goaltender is frustrated after his 11th straight loss

Paul Hamilton
January 11, 2020 - 4:07 pm
Carter Hutton

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - On Saturday, Carter Hutton got his first start since Dec. 19 in Philadelphia. That was a 6-1 loss, and Linus Ullmark started the next eight games.

Overall, Hutton came in 6-6-4 with a 3.23 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. Ralph Krueger knew Hutton had to play in a back-to-back, and he never questions the goaltender’s work ethic, “He’s been working so hard and often when you’re not starting you see more pucks and have more work than when you’re starting. Mike [Bales has] been doing a lot of work with him to give him confidence and solidify what we need to see from him.”

Many felt Hutton would get the game in Detroit on Sunday and not the home game on Saturday. Krueger said, “There’s not just one reason for doing that. Clearly we have this back-to-back situation where it was always planned to split it. It’s just stomach wise it felt like Carter here gets an opportunity at home and has been feeling really comfortable here, and we want to put him in his best possible chance for success.”

Hutton came into the game 0-6-4 in his last 10 starts. Krueger said that doesn’t matter in his thought process, “We’re not even thinking about that. We don’t look at streaks or talk about them or address them at all. It’s what can we do today is really the best way in this league to perform and to have excellence it’s to have the smallest possible picture when that puck is dropped.”

I mistakenly thought that this has been a hard time for Hutton. He said, “It’s been easy. I’m a hockey player. I get to play in the NHL and I’m fortunate, so I think your opinion and mine are different. I’m just excited to be here. I’ve just kept working and doing my thing, and I can’t control when I get to play. I’m professional and I just bring it every day.” Hutton added, “It’s just hockey. I just chip away at it and do the right things all the time.”

Hutton always looks at what he can do and not worry about the things in front of him that he can’t do anything about, “I can only control what I can so I keep competing as for all the other stuff. There’s only so much I can control and it is what it is. We just have to find a way to win games and climb the standings, whether I’m playing or Linus is playing.”

I thought Hutton was excellent in the first period. In the first 3:17 of the game, he had four solid saves and looked confident. After that, Vancouver went on a power play and Hutton made a great save on a tip in front of the net.

He gave up one goal on 13 shots, but the one goal was a great tip by Brock Boeser, in which Hutton had no chance.

His confidence continued in the second 20 minutes as he seemed to be moving well and on his angles.

Right when the period started, Hutton made a great save on Adam Gaudette directly in front. Later in the period, he stopped Gaudette on a partial breakaway with Jake McCabe chasing him down.

The goal was a bad luck play. Bo Horvat tried to pass across on a 2-on-1. Lawrence Pilut did his job and blocked the pass, but the puck went right back to Horvat for the goal.

Hutton also had to stop a 4-on-1 just as the final horn sounded. It was former Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers taking the shot from the right wing side.

Through 40 minutes, Hutton had 20 saves on 22 shots.

Unfortunately for Hutton, just 1:17 into the third period, he left a large rebound after an off angel shot by J.T. Miller. McCabe failed to pick Miller up after the shot and it was 3-2 Vancouver.

Right after the goal, the Canucks came at Hutton with two good opportunities, but Hutton made the saves.

Later in the period, a point shot squirted out to Boeser and Hutton flew across to make a big save, but Christopher Tanev made a move in the circle that pulled both Pilut and Henri Jokiharju out of position and Boeser was open for his second of the game.

Hutton had no help on a 3-on-1 coming 1:14 later and Jake Virtanen scored on a layup to make it 5-3. That means Hutton has given up five or more goals in four of his last five starts, but I didn't think he was bad in this game.

Hutton’s teammates took responsibility for playing poorly in front of him and said they felt bad for Hutton.

Hutton spoke on the postgame and justifiably was frustrated at what went on. He really didn’t know what to say and I don’t blame him.

Ralph Krueger said, “This definitely doesn’t go on Carter Hutton. This was a team loss.”

Hutton made 29 saves on 34 shots.

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