The Predators had just acquired Devan Dubnyk from the Oilers. So if Hutton was ever going to bust out a jaw-dropping stop, Thursday night was the time.
And the save of the year may or may not belong to Nashville's Carter Hutton.
The timing wasn't a huge surprise, really. Eleven days ago, Predators coach Barry Trotz ripped into his No. 2 goaltender, declaring Hutton's performance "not good enough for this league" after a narrow defeat. Nine days after that, GM David Poile decided Hutton wasn't cutting it as Pekka Rinne's fill-in and acquired Devan Dubnyk from the Oilers.
So if Hutton was ever going to bust out a jaw-dropping stop, Thursday night was the time. And, ho-hum, he did it:
No doubt a scintillating stop, but is it...dare I say...a bit overrated?
Hutton makes a phenomenal play to get back into position and shows excellent hand-eye co-ordination to make the catch, no doubt. But, let's face it, Philadelphia left winger Michael Raffl whiffs on this one a bit. David Legwand makes an excellent backcheck and gets his stick in the way, rendering Raffl's shot a floater.
Snagging a knuckleball is no easy feat – just ask Jason Varitek – but if Raffl one-times this puck into the top shelf, Hutton doesn't stop it. Nice stop for sure, but give me a desperation kick save any day of the week. Kirk McLean in 1994, baby:
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin