Carter Hutton stopped all 29 shots he faced, and the Nashville Predators defeated the Minnesota Wild by a 3-0 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The victory was Nashville’s 20th of the season, and gave them a 3-1-0 record against the Wild as the season series came to a close.
“It was a huge game for us,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “It wasn’t the prettiest, but we got it done and Hutts did a great job; he was amazing in net.”
Eric Nystrom struck first for the Preds just 1:24 into the contest, when he redirected a Shea Weber point shot at the right face-off circle past Devan Dubnyk. The goal was Nystrom’s seventh of the season and his second in as many games.
That 1-0 score held through two periods, courtesy of a number of stellar stops from Hutton over the first 40 minutes, until the Preds earned a power play in the third. Josi followed up on his own rebound and roofed the puck over a sprawling Dubnyk for his 10th goal of the season to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. Ryan Johansen recorded an assist on the play, giving him seven points (2g-5a) in his first five games with the Predators.
Hutton and the Preds withstood one more final push from Minnesota to complete the victory, a win that felt even better considering the past stretch of outings for the Preds.
“It’s been tough,” Laviolette said. “It’s been frustrating. The guys have been playing hard, putting in a hard effort and aren’t seeing the results from it. So it’s good to get a win. It was a big division game, division win and home win. There were a lot of good things about it.”
The Preds also enjoyed being back in their own building after returning home from a four-game stretch, adding to the satisfaction of the win.
“The fans were great tonight,” Laviolette said. “The building was packed, and there was a lot of good energy in here. Sometimes when you play Minnesota, it’s a low-event game. At one point in the second period, with six or seven minutes to go, the shots were 17-15, or whatever they were. There was just not a lot of action and activity, but the fans stayed with us. It was a good night here.”
Home Cooking for Hutton:
Carter Hutton impressed the Nashville faithful in his first home start of the season by turning aside each and every one of the 29 pucks Minnesota threw his way on Saturday night. It was Hutton’s third career shutout and fourth win of the season.
Nashville’s backup netminder is now 4-2-1 on the campaign, continuing to give the Preds a solid option when Pekka Rinne gets the night off.
“It’s a team win,” Hutton said. “We had some big blocks, we had some big plays and our penalty kill was great. For me, I didn’t really waiver too much from last year to this year. I just keep working on my game when I get a chance to play, just do my best to help our team win.”
Hutton made a number of key saves throughout the contest, handing the Wild their second consecutive scoreless outing and giving the Preds two more key points in the Central Division standings.
“He was huge for us tonight,” Josi said. “Especially in the second period when we didn’t play that well and they out chanced us in that period, he made some huge saves. He’s been great all year; whenever he’s had to step in, he did a great job.”
“He was really good,” Laviolette said of Hutton. “If we’re being honest, we came out a little bit slow in the first 10 minutes. He had a lot of activity, and if he wasn’t sharp early on, then the game could have swung a different way.”
Gif of the Game:
Carter Hutton slides to his right, spins and uses his shoulder for one of his 29 saves.
Ryan Johansen on playing his first game in Nashville:
“That was really cool. I have a great opportunity here to come into a great hockey team, who’s in a pretty good position now in the playoff hunt and it’s all about winning. My first impression of all the guys and just the people in the organization, and a place for my family to come, it seems like there’s no better place to win a championship. I’m just excited for the future.”
Ryan Johansen’s assist on Roman Josi’s goal was his 200th career point.
Preds center Paul Gaustad appeared in his 700th NHL game on Saturday against the Wild.
The Preds are now 12-1-1 over the last two seasons when Eric Nystrom scores a goal.
Notching his first shutout of the season earns Carter Hutton a place of prominence on tonight's infographic.