When the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012, Jonathan Quick was unbeatable. Quick stopped everything as the Kings rolled off 16 wins in record time to capture the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup. As the Kings return to the Finals two years later, it appears as if the team is winning in spite of their goalie in so many ways.
Without even taking the ice in the Finals, the Kings have already played more games than 2012 as they went the full seven games in every series. Quick’s GAA is more than double his 2012 pace, and he has given up more than his fair share of “soft goals”. While Quick has been struggling on the West Coast, the New York Rangers‘ franchise goalie Henrik Lundqvist has been a brick wall in the playoffs. While the team in front of him has struggled with inconsistencies all year, Lundqvist has been rock solid in willing his team into the playoffs and now into the Finals.
After nearly a decade of being one of the best regular season goalies in the NHL and mere months after signing a massive extension that will ensure he retires a Ranger, Lundqvist is finally playing in his first Finals. Given all the time it took to get there, look for Lundqvist to make the most of this appearance even if his teammates’ inconsistencies continue.
A stellar goalie can offset the weaknesses of any team. The Kings know this, and will need to keep it mind throughout the series.
Asking Quick to be better than Lundqvist is almost impossible because “Hank” is playing at an almost unparalleled level right now. That being said, Quick needs to be better than he has in the first three rounds of the playoffs. While the Kings are without question the better team, having an Achilles’ heel between the pipes can doom even the best teams.
An above-average series from Quick will all but certainly clinch the Kings’ second Stanley Cup in three years. The bar being set that low says all you need to know about how good this Los Angeles team is.