ST. LOUIS — Carter Hutton might be the backup goalie on the St. Louis Blues depth chart, but he’s certainly playing like a No. 1.
Hutton rightfully earned the top star in the Blues’ 3-2 shootout victory over New Jersey on Tuesday. He stopped 24 shots for his seventh victory of the season, saving his best saves for overtime including an incredible pad save on Marcus Johansson after Nico Hischier hit the post with two minutes left that ranks as one of the best saves of the season.
“Hischier made a pretty quick move right to his forehand off the post,” Hutton told NHL.com. “I knew it went back and I wasn’t sure, and I reached behind me and I was able to kind of pick it up. I don’t know if I got my right skate in the back of the net and (I) just was able to get my left leg around, and luckily he didn’t roof it. I was able to get the pad on it.”
Hutton also stopped both New Jersey attempts in the shootout, but it was the Johansson save the rallied his teammates.
“I just feel like we can’t lose today,” Blues right winger Vladimir Tarasenko told NHL.com. “Sometimes you need to fight for someone. When he makes save like this, it’s on us to win the game.”
Hutton is 11-3-0, with a 1.88 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and one shutout in his last 14 starts.
Hutton has started the last two games, both wins, after Jake Allen was spotted by concussion spotters on Friday in Dallas. Allen has practiced fully Monday and Tuesday and Blues coach Mike Yeo said Hutton’s paying time has nothing to do with injury and everything to do with performance.
“‘Hutts’ just deserves it. It’s as simple as that,” Yeo told NHL.com. “Just an opportunity to give a guy who’s doing a really good job a nice little opportunity to get back in the net and show what he can do.”
Whether it is Hutton or Allen in net, the Blues will need another solid effort in the crease as they host the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time Thursday night.
Vegas, the surprise leader of the Pacific Division, has an eight-game winning streak after 3-0 victory over Nashville on Tuesday and is 12-0-1 in its last 13 contests. It is the longest winning and point streaks by an NHL expansion team.
To put it in perspective, that’s a longer winning streak in three months of existence than the Stars have had in 50 years as a franchise in Minnesota and now in Dallas.
“If we keep playing the kind of hockey we’re playing, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun. “The guys are competing, playing hard and believing in themselves.”
This is the second of three meetings between St. Louis and Vegas. The Golden Knights beat the Blues 3-2 in overtime Oct. 21.