Coming into the third period on Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks, the Nashville Predators had been playing on their heels while holding on to a 2-1 lead. Around the three-minute mark of the third period, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne went down into the boards following a save. Bridgestone Arena fell silent as the fans awaited their All Star goaltender to get up from the ice. While Rinne was able to stretch and even continue to skate, Nashville opted to bring Carter Hutton in for his first action at home this season.
“That’s a good sign that he got up, but we don’t know exactly what happened,” said Roman Josi. “It’s a good sign and hopefully not too bad. Everyone knows how important he is for our team, but Hutton did a great job stepping in.”
Immediately after coming into the game, Hutton was faced with immense pressure, but was up to task stopping all shots put on net.
“He’s played great in all of his games, we just haven’t played great games in front of him,” said Colin Wilson. “I was excited to see the way we rallied behind him. He made a bunch of great saves and the team got some timely goals.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette was impressed with Hutton coming into the game after sitting for the majority of the game.
“They fired four or five good shots on the net and he made big saves,” said Laviolette. “That is a critical point in the game when you lose your goaltender and the guy on the bench has been sitting there for two and a half periods. It was good that he jumped in and made great saves for us right away.”
It was easy to see the mindset change for the team once Hutton entered the crease. The Canucks continued to push hard in the second period and the Predators needed to react.
“I think the mindset of our team is always score the next one, it doesn’t matter what the result is,” said Josi. “It’s tough for Hutton to come in with 10 minutes left. You’re sitting on the bench the whole game. That first shift he maybe had 10 shots on his net and he did a tremendous job and made great saves. It was huge for us that he helped us keep the lead.”
The Predators were then able to lock it down and rally around Hutton by giving him a nice cushion of goals to work with. Starting with a goal by Filip Forsberg at 13:32, Nashville notched three goals in just over four minutes.
“They had some zone time in the third period and put some pressure on us,” said Josi. “We were talking about it in the second intermission that we have to play forward. I think we did after five or six minutes of their pressure, we started playing in their end a little bit more.”
Almost seemingly lost in Tuesday’s game is the success of the power play. While the unit struggled to begin the season at home, Nashville struck twice on the power play against Vancouver.
“The other unit moved the puck really well and they had some huge power play goals for us,” said Josi. “They did a great job moving the puck around and creating shooting lanes and shooting the puck. That was huge tonight.”
Nashville continues to hold on to first place in the league with 62 points and a 29-9-4 record. With only three games left until the All Star break, the Predators do have time to evaluate Rinne. With the team being off on Wednesday, an update is expected to be given on Thursday at practice which will take place at Ford Ice Center.
View Peter Laviolette’s post game press conference: