By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
WINNIPEG — Michael Hutchinson steered aside 32 shots for his first ever National Hockey League win as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Boston Bruins 2-1 in the shootout on Thursday night.
How it happened: The Bruins ended up starting Chad Johnson in net over Tuukka Rask after indicating the opposite earlier in the day. Johnson made a solid 12 saves in the first frame and Brad Marchand scored his 24th of the season, beating Michael Hutchinson — in just his second career NHL start — off a pass off the end boards by Reilly Smith. Hutchinson would keep the damage as just one after stoning 500-goal scorer Jarome Iginla on a breakaway. The man they call Hutch did well to come out and meet Iginla, stare him down and make a timely save. Kudos to the kid.
The second period will be forever renamed the Hutchinson Show (at least in Winnipeg) or Watch Hutch be Clutch or I Own Iggy. Really, no matter what named is attached to it, the fact remains that Hutchinson put together his best period of hockey in only his fifth total period in the NHL. After robbing Iginla in the first on a breakaway he continued that trend with a couple filthy saves to follow that up including a beauty pad save on a Bruins power play. The Jets did little at the other end to help out their goalie and the scored remained 1-0 in favour of the Boston-based club.
The Jets put in a valiant effort towards the end of the third and were finally rewarded. Wheeler led a rush up the ice, dropped a pass to Kane who roofed it passed Johnson for his 18th of the season — and first in nine games — to tie the game up with just 1:57 left in the third.
Overtime solved nothing, although both teams traded chances, both goalies stood on their heads as they had all night.
Hutchinson would not be denied his first NHL win, stopping all three Boston shooters during the shootout. Bryan Little scored the Jets’ only goal to ensure the Jets win.
Shots: 37-33 Jets
What it means: Like last game, absolutely nothing. The Jets got to see Hutchinson again and will likely see him one more time before sending him back to St. John’s for the IceCaps playoff push.
Jets player of the game: There is no doubt that it was Michael Hutchinson for a second straight game. Hutchinson made save after save, often difficult ones and timely ones as well, keeping the Jets within striking distance and was rewarded for his efforts with his first NHL win.
Jets stat of the game: Hutchinson picked up his first NHL win after a convincing 32 save performance.
What is next for the Jets: One more night. The Jets will travel to Calgary after tonight’s game ahead of their 82nd and final game of the season against the Flames on Friday night.