TORONTO – In his last seven starts, Buffalo Sabres goalie Carter Hutton has struggled mightily, compiling a 0-5-2 record with a 4.02 goals against average and an .869 save percentage.
Hutton, 33, will start tonight against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena, only his second nod in seven games. He earned his last win Oct. 22.
“He’s ready for it,” Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said this morning. “We feel good. His spirits are good, he’s positive, and I’m sure he’s going to play a good game here tonight.”
Hutton hasn’t had many strong games lately. Still, the Sabres, who beat the Leafs 6-4 on Friday afternoon in Buffalo with goalie Linus Ullmark, haven’t helped him out much.
In his last outing, Monday’s 5-2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, he faced a slew of breakaways and odd-man rushes.
Hutton has strong numbers – 3-1-0, 2.71 and .915 – in five career games against the Leafs.
Krueger wouldn’t reveal the rest of his lineup. The Sabres dressed seven defensemen and 11 forwards Friday, giving defender Colin Miller an opportunity to play after sitting out six of eight games as a healthy scratch.
While the Sabres did not hold a full morning skate, the forwards they scratched Friday – Jean-Sebastien Dea and Curtis Lazar – went on the ice.
That could mean the Sabres will dress an extra defenseman again.
Update: Dea and Lazar are scratched.
“I’ve actually always liked it as a coach,” Krueger said of using seven and 11. “I’ve used it lots of times in the past. It gives you options to really mix different guys into the lineup. You see the top-end guys don’t get extra ice time out of it. It’s more of a sharing of guys that sometimes don’t get the minutes, and I think they’re more into the game when they do that.”