Bruins

Bruins prospect Hutchinson making strides in net

191545.jpg

Bruins prospect Hutchinson making strides in net

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

WILMINGTON Michael Hutchinson is the elder statesman of the Bruins rookies with five years of prospect camp under his goaltending belt, and an entire season of AHL hockey with the Providence Bruins on his resume.

But Hutchinson had his moments during last years season with the P-Bruins and dominated his final Bs prospect camp during July. He gets the much-deserved start in the first rookie game against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum on Monday night. Bs assistant general manager Jim Benning indicated that Hutchinson would get the nod in the first game, and wanted to continue seeing the consistency hes chased after over the last two years.

Its the typical kind of physical and mental maturation that goes into the often lengthy process of developing a good goaltender, but the 21-year-old Hutchinson still has the ideal 6-foot-3, 192-pound size and excellent athleticism that made him such a good goalie prospect in the first place.

I think with him he was a young goalie that had a good skill set because hes physically big," Benning said. "But with him its finding the consistency to play hard and compete every night in goal. If he lets in a bad goal to bounce back and not let it get to him. So far its just been a couple days at camp. Well see how he plays in his games but I think hes shown an improvement.

"Like last year, he had kind of an up-and-down year. At times he was really good and at other times he struggled but I think for him to keep getting better is if he improves his consistency. So far hes showing that he can keep developing and be a good goalie.

The young Bs goaltender got an opportunity to play in the second game against the Islanders last year at the Garden, so he knows there will be equal parts nervousness and excitement when he takes the ice for warm-ups. Theres a benefit in that he knows what to expect, but donning the Bs sweater in an NHL barn still gets the blood pumping no matter how many times youve done it before.

I remember sitting in the press box for the first game in Boston and I couldnt believe how many people showed up. Then even more people showed up for the second one, said Hutchinson, who went 13-10-1 with a 3.13 goals against average and a .904 save percentage last season in Providence. Its always really memorable when you play in front of that many people for the first time. I remember the overtime and then Ryan Spooners goal to win it. I hadnt been that excited in a while.

Its been a long time and a long offseason because we didnt make the AHL playoffs, so itll be nice to get back into it sooner rather than later. Its exciting. Well all have some adrenaline. Just want to see some shots and get used to playing 60 minutes again.

While the Bruins are obviously set this season with Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask at the NHL level barring any unforeseen injuries, its important for Hutchinson to keep making strides and proving to the Bs brass that he can fill in should either of their goalies go down for any period of time. That starts with Monday nights game against the Isles, and an important training camp for the 21-year-old that many inside and outside the organization will be watching closely.

After all if theres one thing the hockey world always needs, its a few more goalies.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

pastrnak_102117.jpg

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.