The question of who the Blues’ starting goaltender is was solved at the 2016 NHL draft, as Brian Elliott was shipped off to the Calgary Flames after requesting a trade. Jake Allen firmly has a grasp of the starting position this season, but the acquisition of Carter Hutton this off-season brought a pretty solid backup into the fold. In Nashville, behind Pekka Rinne, Hutton went 7-5-0, with a 2.33 GAA and .918 SV%. He’s more than capable; God willing Allen won’t go down with an injury this season, but Hutton has experience covering for an injured starter as well.
Is this early to be getting the back-up some work? Not according to Ken Hitchcock:
“It’s an early reward for a job well done in training camp,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He did a great job during training camp; he was outstanding. And he’s part of our team moving forward. We’ve got to get him in the action as quickly as possible, to be honest with you.
“I just think playing off back-to-back, three games in four nights under normal circumstances, if this was the middle of the season, we’d be playing Carter anyways, so why not start it up now? I just don’t want to see a guy like Hutton get too far away from the action here. I want to see him part of this team as quickly as possible. And you can’t be a part of it unless you’re playing in games.”
Tonight, Hutton will get his first start of the season against the New York Rangers. The Rangers, who are 1-0-0 so far this season, will more than likely be starting Henrik Lundqvist, who has a sub-.500 win percentage against St. Louis. The Blues lost both games against the Rangers last season. Continuing to limit the oppositions shots - and limit those shots’ quality - will go a long way to beating the Rangers tonight.
Ken Hitchcock says that the Rangers are the best out of the Blues’ first three opponents, and he’s probably right. If the Blues can put pressure on the Rangers’ offense, they may just start the season 3-0. That’d be a nice way to get ready for the upcoming road trip.
Other than Hutton being in for Allen, tonight’s lines and line-up is the same as Thursday evening’s.