It’s no secret that the Buffalo Sabres Goaltender Carter Hutton has had an excellent week, now he has been recognized for his play by being named the NHL’s third star of the week.
Carter Hutton has been off to a fantastic start this season. Coming into the year, many questioned if Hutton would last the first month with the Sabres. Based on how much his play had regressed over the last few years, the questions made sense. But through three weeks in 2019, Hutton looks like a reborn goaltender. Before we talk about what has caused his resurgence, let’s talk about what he did to be the NHL’s third star of the week.
Last week Hutton started in two games. The first was a 2 pm home game against the Dallas Stars. In that game Hutton was fantastic, as were the Sabres as a whole. Hutton had to make 25 saves in a game the Sabres won 4-0. Hutton benefited from the fact that the Stars only managed to get one shot off in their two power play opportunities. While the shutout was impressive, this game was certainly the less impressive of Hutton’s two performances this past week.
Hutton’s second game came against the LA Kings coming off of 2 days of rest. Still, Hutton couldn’t have been completely rested as the team arrived in LA just a day and a half before this game. What Hutton did in goal against LA was an all time great Sabres regular season performance. Hutton made 47 saves, 5 on the power play. In this game, LA dominated the Sabres in terms of possession. The game was mostly played in the Sabre zone, Buffalo had a hard time keeping the puck away from the Kings forwards. Still, Hutton fended off every shot that came his way to set a new Sabres regular season record. Buffalo beat LA 4-0 despite only getting 24 shots on goal.
As for what has caused this resurgence? Mike Bales as the goalie coach. Bales has an excellent track record of helping goalie’s succeed in his previous jobs, and so far in Buffalo, has made Hutton and Linus Ullmark look like reborn men. The biggest key for Hutton has been rest. Bales and Head Coach Ralph Krueger have implemented a system that causes neither Hutton or Ullmark to be overplayed. The result? Both goalies are rested and ready to go when their number is called, and it’s rare to see them make a mistake caused by fatigue.
Carter Hutton has had an incredible start to the year for the Buffalo Sabres, now it’s about being consistent and playing like this more often than not.