What seems like only a few years ago the Tampa Bay Lightning was in a similar situation as the current Los Angeles Kings.
The Los Angeles Kings are currently one game away from doing what former captain Dave Andreychuk, goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and young stars such as Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier did for Tampa Bay in 2004. Win a franchise first Stanley Cup in an area that most people would not be thinking of making hockey a top priority.
A lineup very similar to the Kings’ current with veteran Simon Gagne comparable to Andreychuk, goaltender Jonathan Quick being an evolved stronger version of Khabibulin, and younger stars such as Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar being comparable to St. Louis and Lecavalier.
The similarity of the stats between goalies Quick and Khabibulin in these two Stanley Cup seasons is the largest player comparison of them all though.
In 2004 Khabibulin’s record was 16-7 with five shutouts, a .913 save percentage and a low 1.71 goals against averaged. Though the Lightning had some decent offensive games many of them were held or won by great goaltending.
With the Kings being only one win away Quick has put up some fantastic numbers himself as well. He is 15-2 with three shutouts, has a .950 save percentage and a post-season best 1.36 goals against averaged.
With numerous lower scoring games in this post-season in games for Los Angeles one or two goals could have made all the difference and put a different team in the Stanley Cup finals. But Quick has made all the right saves and has been there more often than most could ask from their goaltender.
The memories will never be forgotten for fans in ‘The Sunshine State’ when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and it’s times like this when another younger team will get to attempt to have their names carved into a piece of history that another hometown will always treasure.
The Kings look to sweep the series tonight against the New Jersey Devils at home where they hope to hoist one of the if not the most memorable trophy in all of sports.