Carter Hutton stopped 32 of 33 shots to backstop the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night over the New York Rangers.
The Blues remain undefeated at 4-0-0 this season, just the second time in franchise history that’s ever happened while the Rangers drop to 1-3-0.
Their tough start is magnified even more considering three of their first four games came at Madison Square Garden.
Jaden Schwartz recorded a goal and an assist to pace the Blues offense on the night, which got going early.
Carl Gunnarsson scored on the very first shot of the game that stemmed off a bad Rangers turnover in the defensive zone, snapping a wrister past Henrik Lundqvist, who made 21 saves on the night.
New York’s deficit didn’t last long, though. Just 2:07 to be exact.
After Schwartz was called for a hooking penalty, the Rangers and Mika Zibanejad converted on the man advantage yet again.
A shot from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from the point was saved by Hutton, but the rebound came out to Pavel Buchnevich, who wheeled a pass behind his back for a wide-open Zibanejad to tap in for his fifth goal of the season, his league-leading fourth on the power play.
Brayden Schenn grabbed the lead back for the Blues on just their fourth shot of the night with 6:30 left in the period. A shot from Paul Stastny went wide of Lundqvist’s right post, but Schenn, who was camped at a tough angle there, managed to ban it off Lundqvist’s skate and in.
A lethargic second period provided few chances between both teams, but it was Lundqvist who was the busier goalie between the two. Despite two power plays, the Rangers could only muster five shots on goal in the second frame.
New York found itself in a major jam when Ryan McDonagh and Steve Kampfer committed penalties within 45 seconds of each other to award the Blues with 1:15 of 5-on-3 time with 5:10 gone in the third.
But the Rangers penalty kill, which has struggled in the early portions of this season, came up big and did not concede while shifting momentum to their side.
The problem for them was Hutton was standing on his head down the stretch.
He stood strong against a Rangers barrage with just under 10 minutes to go, making a triple save that included a lunging, desperation arm save to rob Jimmy Vesey.
Buchnevich later felt the pain of being robbed by Hutton off a scramble in front when the puck fell to him at the St. Louis goalie’s left post. But Tuesday night’s stalwart got over just in time to preserve the Blues’ lead with 5:45 remaining.
In one last-ditch effort to tie things up, New York pulled Lundqvist with 1:58 left, but it was the Blues that would ice the game when Schwartz slotted St. Louis’ third 11 seconds later.