Jan 21, 2014
Goaltender Carter Hutton earned his third straight win and the Nashville Predators picked up their third victory in their last four games as they knocked off the Dallas Stars 4-1 at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night.
“I thought we played a great game,” Hutton said. “This is a team we just jumped in the standings and they’re looking to beat us while we’re looking to beat them. They have some skilled players and it was a huge two points for us.”
With the win, Nashville moved ahead of their division rival and into fifth place in the Central Division. The Predators still sit eight points out of the final Western Conference playoff spot, however.
“We know these games are huge against divisional teams, especially Dallas, a team we’re able to jump tonight,” Hutton said. “We still have a lot of hockey left, too. We can’t be looking too far ahead. I think we’re just trying to be even-keeled here and keep on working.”
Nashville is in the midst of a small hot streak of sorts, winning three of their last four contests. Hutton has been in goal for all three of the victories.
“I think I find ways to win games battling here with a good team in front of me,” Hutton said. “I continue to do my job, just trying to battle and finding ways to win. Through all of the ups and downs, you have to kind of stay level and keep working hard.”
Hutton has had a fairly up and down season. After a loss to Carolina earlier this month, Nashville coach Barry Trotz referred to Hutton’s performace as “not good enough for this league”. He has won every start since that game.
“I feel like so far I’ve been pretty confident and comfortable,” Hutton said. “There’s ups and downs, but I just have to find a way to consistently help the team win.”
Last week, Nashville traded Matt Hendricks to Edmonton in exchange for goaltender Devan Dubnyk. The intention appears to be to have Hutton return to his original role of back-up goaltender once Dubnyk gets tuned in and acclimated. In fact, Dubnyk had the start for Nashville on Saturday night – Nashville’s lone loss in the last four games. Hutton, however, was not shaken by being pulled from the rotation while riding a hot streak.
“We’re playing so many games – my last game was Thursday and today is Monday, so it’s not too many days off,” Hutton said. “I sat for a lot more when (Marek Mazanec) was player of the month and when (Rinne) was playing. It’s just one of those things you find ways in practice to battle and stay sharp.”
The victory gives Hutton his tenth win of the season. Nashville, meanwhile, sits essentially four wins away from a playoff spot with 31 games left to play.
“The way we’re playing, we’re pretty solid,” Hutton said. “We’re a pretty confident group in here and when we play our game we can play against anybody.”
Photo Credit: Kristen Jerkins