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OK without Rinne? Hutton starts strong for Preds


The financial gulf between Pekka Rinne ($7 million per year) and Carter Hutton (league minimum) is as gigantic as the difference in their NHL experience, but one must give credit where it’s due: Hutton’s making a good first impression in Nashville.

On the same day that the Predators learned that Rinne would miss at least a month with an infection in his surgically repaired hip, Hutton stopped 34 out of 36 shots in a 3-2 OT win against the Winnipeg Jets.

When you combine his relief work against the St. Louis Blues and two games against the Jets, it’s clear that Hutton, 27, is making the most of his opportunities. The Canadian netminder has stopped 93 out of 97 shots, giving him a 2-0-0 record with a .959 save percentage and 1.37 GAA.

That’s a tiny sample size - and it’s not like he came into this season with much, as he had just one token start in 2013 - yet Hutton can’t really change that. He can only stop pucks behind a strong Nashville defense, and in that regard, so far so good.

It sounds like Nashville will stick with Hutton and Magnus Hellberg - at least for now - and many rave about Hellberg’s potential, but Hutton seems determined to make it an interesting (and unpredictable) goalie battle.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins