There’s absolutely no way Carter Hutton actually did what they say he did. The replay video shown on the scoreboard? Nope, that must be wrong, too. It had to have been doctored in some way or another, edited to display a save that no mere mortal could possibly deliver.
But Hutton did deliver, by his own admission, one of the best saves of his career—and in a moment where the Blues needed it most.
"That one’s up there,” Hutton said of his overtime pad save that kept the game tied 2-2 Tuesday. “That was a good one.”
If Hutton has ever made a better save than his miraculous denial of Marcus Johansson in the Blues' 3-2 win over the Devils, then that save is already in a museum somewhere. Because what Hutton did Tuesday night was out of this world:
Professional athletes compete at such high levels, it's difficult for normal people to even comprehend how their minds and bodies are capable of combining to produce in such high-pressure moments as the one Hutton thrived in on Tuesday. And for those athletes, it can often be difficult to describe the frenetic process.
Hutton saw the first shot ring off the post. From there, it was a scramble to determine where the puck had gone and anticipate where it might be heading next.
“I knew it went back, so I wasn’t sure and then I kind of reached behind me,” Hutton explained. “I just was able to pick it up. I don’t know if I got my right skate back in the net, and then just was able to get my left leg around. Luckily he didn’t move and I was able to get a pad on it.”
To track and figure out how he needed to contort his body to have a chance at stopping the puck, that's one thing. For Hutton to have the physical ability to execute that action in the blink of an eye—how in the world did he do it?
"Just a lot of stretching," Hutton laughed. "Pliable, you know. Just tried to compete. It's one of those ones that's instinct. You practice, you play so hard for so long and that's just something that's wired into our DNA, to compete on every puck. It paid off there."
The save was so impressive, it honestly deserves another look:
Though for a moment it appeared the referees might review the play and overturn the call on the ice of no goal, Hutton felt confident all the way—except for when he didn't.
"I knew that I had had it," Hutton said of his initial reaction after the play. "But there's always that doubt in your mind, I guess. I thought I had it, and once I saw that one replay, you knew it was good. From there, you're just trying to stay focused, right? Because everyone is so pumped and guys are coming over and the crowd's going nuts. For me I just try to move on and refocus, because they still had a couple chances after that."
But even through those chances, it just seemed like the Blues weren't going to let this one slip away after the way Hutton battled for his team. He made the the kind of game-changing play that teammates rally behind—the whole momentum of the game shifts. Mike Yeo felt the Blues made it their mission at that point to get the win for Hutton.
"Absolutely, I think so," Mike Yeo said. "It's certainly easy to rally around a goalie when he's playing that well."
And with a little more help from their lock-in goaltender, the Blues found a way to come away from the game with two points. Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko each buried their opportunity in a shootout, while Hutton put a cherry on top of his night with consecutive shootout saves.
While none of it happens without a gutsy decision by Blues video coach Sean Ferrell to challenge for offside on what would have been the go-ahead goal for New Jersey earlier in the game, Blues star winger Vladimir Tarasenko wasn't quite ready to bestow 'player of the game' honors on Ferrell.
Acknowledging the influence of that decision on the Blues' victory, Tarasenko quipped, "I'd go with Huttsy, anyway."
Frankly, it's hard to argue with him.