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St. Louis Blues, Carter Hutton shut out Detroit Red Wings

By
Bob Duff, The Sports Xchange
St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton blocked 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Blues posted a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. File Photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI
St. Louis Blues goaltender Carter Hutton blocked 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Blues posted a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. File Photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

DETROIT -- Lately, when the St. Louis Blues take their show on the road, they've been going with a Shakespearian motif.

When they play, much ado about nothing has become their gameplan of choice.

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Goaltender Carter Hutton blocked 25 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Blues posted a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

It with the fifth shutout posted by the Blues in their last 10 road games, and back-up goalie Hutton has accounted for four of them.

Hutton credited some tweaks that coach Mike Yeo has made in their defensive system, going from man-to-man to zone in their own end, for creating an environment where the goaltenders are capable of stopping all the shots on many nights.

"We're giving up stuff but we know what we're giving up," Hutton said. "If we're going to give up the perimeter one timer, it's easy for us to see and we can collect it.

"When it's scrambly in the D zone, we were giving up such high-quality chances and it makes it a little harder on us. When we can see pucks and know what's coming at us, it makes it a little easier to prepare."

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St. Louis won its fifth straight game and improved to 6-1 since Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock as coach of the team. St. Louis is 30-22-5 and in third place in the Central Division.

"Coach really has us working hard on defense, and the system is pretty much the same, but we're doing a much better job than we were doing before he got here," Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson said.

The Wings, last in the Eastern Conference at 22-25-10, dropped their fourth straight game. It was the eighth time this season the Wings have been shut out this season.

"You've got to score more than zero to win," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

Detroit is 2-6-4 in its last 12 games.

"It's definitely coming down to the end here," Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader said. "It's frustrating for sure, getting shut out.

"I thought we had some chances but didn't make it hard enough on their goalie."

Detroit fell behind just 2:06 into the game, the 35th time this season that the Wings have surrendered the first goal. Ivan Barbashev was allowed to skate the puck unscathed out from behind the Wings net and turned and whipped a wrist shot by Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek on the short side. It was just the second goal of the season for Barbashev.

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"I thought in the first period we had nonsensical giveaways when we were not really under pressure," Blashill said. "For whatever reason, we had some giveaways that were unneeded."

Jaden Schwartz added his 14th goal of the season into an empty Detroit net with 10.3 seconds left in the third period.

Playing at Joe Louis Arena for the first time since the death of team owner Mike Ilitch, the Wings, who canceled their morning skate to attend visitation for Ilitch, wore a patch on the left shoulder of their jerseys that read, "Mr. I." The words "Mr. I" were also painted on the ice in the neutral zone.

It was also a special night for Hutton, a big Wings fan while growing up in Thunder Bay, Ont. whose first job was delivering pizzas for Little Caesars, the chain owned by Ilitch.

"That's what I told the boys here," Hutton said. "I owe Mr. Ilitch a lot. He gave me my first job. I worked at a Little Caesars in Thunder Bay. We had a lot of fun and I ate a lot of pizza, that's for sure.

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"I was a huge Wings fan. I grew up watching Stevie Y (Yzerman) and (Sergei) Fedorov and those guys back in the heyday. It was pretty cool to play here in the last game at the Joe for us and to be able to get a shutout.

"I'll cherish this."

Out of the corner of his eye, Hutton was spying the stack of Little Caesars pizza about 10 feet away from his dressing room stall.

"I'll be having some of that Little Caesars soon here," Hutton said. "I'm just waiting to get over there."

NOTES:

-- Detroit F Gus Nyquist sat out the first game of a six-game NHL suspension for high-sticking Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon in Sunday's game.

-- Entering Wednesday's game, in six career games versus St. Louis, Mrazek was 4-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA, a .951 save percentage and one shutout. He allowed just one goal Wednesday, but lost.

-- Detroit G Jimmy Howard (knee) suffered another setback in his recovery and will be sent to AHL Grand Rapids on a second conditioning assignment during Detroit's Feb. 22-27 bye week.

-- F Vladimir Tarasenko is the first Blues player to post three consecutive 25-goal seasons since Keith Tkachuk (2001-04).

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-- Red Wings scratches were D Ryan Sproul and F Tomas Jurco. D Jonathan Ericsson (wrist) and Howard are on injured reserve.

-- Blues scratches were F Nail Yakupov F Dmitrij Jaskin and D Robert Bortuzzo. F Paul Stastny (lower body), F Robbie Fabbri (ACL) and F Kyle Brodziak (foot) are on IR.

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