DENVER – Playing on back-to-back nights, in cities 800 miles apart, is no easy task.
But when your goalie doesn’t allow a goal, it tends to help.
Michael Hutchinson stopped all 37 shots he faced, including 20 in the final period, as the Winnipeg Jets stymied the Colorado Avalanche 1-0 Friday night.
“Playing back-to-back nights, especially with the travel in between, isn’t an easy task, and we did exactly what he had to do to win the game,” Hutchinson said post-game. “Everyone was on the right side of the puck, backchecking hard, and we didn’t give up too many odd man rushes. They got a lot of shots on net but we did a good job taking away a lot more.”
Head coach Paul Maurice raved about his goalie postgame.
“You need that, on back-to-backs especially. He was spectacular. I’m happy for him. He’s worked hard, played three very strong games for us now and he gets a statistical number that recognizes that.”
Shawn Matthias, who scored the team’s first goal of the season in their opener, finally got his second of the year off a perfect cross-ice feed from the emerging Joel Armia. Thanks to the play of Hutchinson, it was all the offence the Jets needed.
“Armia made a great play. He’s been playing really well for us, he’s got a lot of talent. he’s a very skilled hockey player, playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Matthias explained. “It was a team win, every guy stepped up, we had some great penalty kills, it’s a good feeling in the room right now.”
That’s now two straight wins for the Jets, and the tandem of Hutchinson and Connor Hellebuyck have combined to allow one goal on 76 shots in those two games. The Jets will try to continue their strong defensive play tomorrow afternoon at home against Buffalo, puck drop is 2 p.m.