There’s a lot to unpack from the Sharks’ 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues, but one piece that doesn’t take much extra context is Carter Hutton’s status as a permanent nemesis of the Sharks. The former netminder, who never broke out of the San Jose farm system, shut out the Sharks for the second time in four tries and improved his career save percentage against Team Teal to .977.
Yes, the goalie who never managed to play a single game with San Jose now holds a 3-0-1 record with two shutouts with two different teams since Dec. 14, 2013. That’s good enough to get Hutton straight into villain territory.
Those first three games all came with Nashville and all saw San Jose take at least 35 shots on goal. That wasn’t the story on Saturday as Ken Hitchcock’s Blues suffocated any and all life out of San Jose. Losing Joe Thornton to ejection midway through the game didn’t help matters any, of course, but that’s for another post.
Hutton is up to 93 NHL games at 31 years old and entered Saturday’s game with a .908 save percentage. His time with the Worcester Sharks during the 2010-11 campaign certainly didn’t suggest we’d see anything different as he posted a .902 save percentage in his only action with San Jose’s American Hockey League affiliate.
After making his debut with Chicago, Hutton moved on to Nashville where he spent the last three seasons. This is his first season in St. Louis and he entered Saturday’s game with a .901 save percentage. San Jose missed wide open chances, of course, but Hutton pulled a lucky horseshoe out of his goal bag and put together his best performance of the season against a team he tends to do that against.
The above graphic, from hockeyviz.com, shows where the Sharks took their unblocked shot attempts at even strength against Hutton. A whole bunch of rubber came towards Hutton from distance, and I already noted he wasn’t faced into many saves. Saturday’s game has as much to do with the Sharks’ inability to finish as it does with Hutton’s strong game; still, in the grand scheme of things, he’s more than earned his place in the SInister Six.