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5 Observations: Hutton shines as Sabres take down Rangers 3-1

Posted: 10:51 PM, Oct 06, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-06 22:51:55-04
5 Observations: Hutton shines as Sabres take down Rangers 3-1

Carter Hutton is here to ease your concerns about the Sabres goaltending situation. On Saturday Hutton was outstanding, turning away 43 of the 44 shots he faced, leading the Sabres to a 3-1 win, their first of the season. Conor Sheary scored twice while Jack Eichel sealed the game with an empty-netter. 

5 Observations from Saturday's win:

Red Hot Hutton 

Carter Hutton was hands down the Sabres best player on Saturday evening. In the first period, he turned away all 14 shots he faced, including some pretty quality chances from the boys in royal blue. 

But that was just the appetizer. In the middle frame, it was time for the main course. After an egregious turnover by Tage Thompson and Casey Nelson, Hutton robbed Brett Howden who was flanking a Rangers 3-on-0. Hutton slid across the crease and snagged what looked like a sure goal for the Rangers, protecting the Sabres two-goal lead. 

Despite allowing three goals in the Sabres 4-0 loss to the Bruins on Thursday, Hutton has played very well in his first two games. Against the Rangers, Hutton appeared locked-in from the opening face off and was the biggest reason why the Sabres picked up their first win of the season. 

Sheary the Sniper

Jason Botterill has to be grinning from ear to ear. 

On Saturday in the first period, Sheary scored his first goal with the Sabres and the first goal of the season for his team, firing a wrister past Henrik Lundqvist on a 2-on-1 with the man advantage. But the winger acquired from Pittsburgh in the offseason was just getting started. 

In the second period, Sheary replaced Skinner on the Sabres top power-play unit and the decision paid off. After about a minute and a half of a consistent cycle, Sheary converted on a pretty passing play to double the Sabres lead. 

While Sheary doesn't do anything incredibly well, he's an all-around solid player who converts on the chances he should. Buffalo has lacked these types of players in years past and if Saturday is any indication, Sheary could be poised to have a great season, especially if he keeps playing alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. 

Minute Monsters

Both Rasmus Ristolainen and Marco Scandella played great games against the Rangers on Saturday. But I'm a bit concerned that both will be relied upon too heavily as the season moves along. 

Last year, the top-pair was asked to do a whole lot. Not much has changed two games into the season. Injuries to Zach Bogosian and Matt Hunwick haven't given the team a whole lot of options. But Phil Housley needs to be careful just how much he rides his top-pair. In the past, it has gotten the team in trouble. That wasn't the case on Saturday but this will be a concern until Dahlin is ready to take on an expanded role. 

Already time for a change? 

Just like many of you, I thought Tage Thompson was one of the most impressive Sabres during the preseason. But in his first two regular season games with the Sabres, he has struggled.

On two separate occasions, Thompson turned the puck over at his own blue line, leading to odd-man rushes in the opposite direction. Luckily for him and his team, Hutton was there to keep the Rangers off the board. 

To be fair, the third period was his best. His efforts were nearly rewarded when he found a streaking Rasmus Dahlin with a perfect saucer pass. Thompson followed the play and batted the puck into the net but it was with a high-stick. 

But with Alex Nylander off to a hot start in Rochester, maybe the Sabres will swap their first-round picks. I don't think Housley will pull the trigger after just two games but I wouldn't be shocked either. Classic cop-out answer, I know. 

Doubled Up

After getting shut out against the Boston Bruins on Thursday the Sabres came out of the gate flat, getting outshot 14-7 in the first frame. To be fair, the numbers were a bit inflated by an exceptional power play from the Rangers were they tallied six shots in two minutes. Once the penalty was killed off it was a pretty even period by the two sides. But if it wasn't for some great saves by Carter Hutton the Sabres would have found themselves trailing once again after 20 minutes. For a team in their position, they need fast starts. The Sabres won't win many hockey games playing from behind. 

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