By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
It will be a night that Michael Hutchinson will forever remember and for good reason.
The 24-year-old rookie netminder not only recorded his first National Hockey League win — a 2-1 shootout victory over the Boston Bruins — but he did it in front of the of his parents, Lloyd and Carol Ann and against the team that drafted him six years ago.
“It was huge,” said Hutchinson. “Getting your first game is definitely something really special but getting your first win trumps that a little bit. With it being against Boston, the team that gave up one me, it just makes it even more sweeter.”
Hutchinson looked as vibrant as ever as he eagerly talked to the media following the win. He was quick to give credit to the guys in front of him and played down his own heroics on the night.
“You just want to give your team a chance to win,” said Hutchinson, who did just that making 32 saves against the league’s best team. “Fortunately, we came out flying in the third period and took the play to them and got rewarded with the goal. That is all you can really ask for, for the guys to put forth that effort for you.”
Hutchinson’s night was highlighted by five quality saves off the stick of 500-plus goal man Jarome Iginla, including a breakaway chance and another excellent opportunity on the power play where Hutchinson had to slide from post-to-post to make a highlight-reel save.
“Playing well against them (Bruins) goes a long way for your confidence, knowing that you can play in this league and knowing that you can make saves on a guy like Jarome Iginla is just an added bonus,” Hutchinson said.
It seems likely that Hutchinson will make it a hat-trick of starts when the Jets play their final game of the season in Calgary on Friday night.
“I haven’t decided,” said Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice. “I want to let some of the emotion go away and Wade Flaherty will go back and see how he is feeling. We want to put him in a position to have success and at the same time, if he feels good, he will be in the net tomorrow night.
“He has earned that right, and back-to-backs are a different beast. We want to see him in that too.”
If his name is called, the man they call “Hutch” will be as ready as ever.
“You just have to go into every game looking to win,” he said. “It is all about getting rest now and making sure your body is feels as good as it can for tomorrow night.”