There’s no question that the Kings play lately has been bad. One could make the argument that it’s been nothing short of awful, the second half of Monday’s loss to San Jose in particular.
Having lost five in a row, and struggling to find any sort of offense, many Kings fans are beginning to question whether or not these are just the same old Kings.
But even with the struggles, Jonathan Quick has provided Los Angeles with one silver lining, as the team searches for ways to work their way out of the recent funk.
Quick has proven that he is a top goaltender in the National Hockey League, and has performed at a high level all season. And his numbers reflect that.
Similar to last year, Quick is off to a hot start, and his torrid pace has kept the Kings in games recently, even when they can’t find offense. Monday night was the first time Quick had allowed more than three goals in a game, but even then he made some brilliant saves that kept the score close.
On the season, Quick has posted a 1.87 GAA and and .936 save percentage. Those numbers come despite Quick facing the fourth most shots in the NHL. His three shutouts are tied for the league lead.
He also provided the NHL with one of its bigger storylines in the NHL in the early going, with his shutout streak that earned him a place in franchise history. When all was said and done, Quick reached over 212 minutes without allowing a goal, the longest among goaltenders in the history of the franchise.
Of course, the Kings aren’t exactly a franchise known for their success in goal. The revolving door that the team had in the crease, prior to Quick, is a thing of the past, and the Kings have found themselves in a franchise goaltender in the 25-year-old.
Heading into the season, Quick was viewed as the key for this team to succeed. They acquired offensive firepower and already had strong depth on the defensive end, leaving it up to Quick to rebound from a sluggish second half last season.
But recently, it’s been Quick keeping the team alive. Monday’s loss to the Sharks very well could have been a blowout of embarrassing proportions, but Quick flashed some brilliance to keep the game close.
In the Kings’ five-game losing streak, Jonathan Quick has been between the pipes in every game. However, very little of that can be attributed to the goaltender. While Quick’s GAA of 2.96 in those five isn’t overly impressive, Monday was the first time he allowed more than three goals in a game. In those five, the Kings haven’t scored more than two goals.
Though some may have indicated a goalie controversy at some point in the near future, with Jonathan Bernier not far behind Quick, the latter has established himself as the no. 1 goalie in Los Angeles. I’d pegged Quick as my dark horse pick for the Vezina Trophy before the season started, something that’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility at some point in the near future, provided he gets support from those in front of him.