For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Kings find themselves two wins away from a Stanley Cup, sitting on a 2-0 series lead over the New York Rangers. In 2012, the success was helped by the amazing performance they were receiving from goalie Jonathan Quick. This time, though, you could argue the Kings are in this position despite Quick’s play in net.
Even though Quick is one of the NHL’s best goalies, he’s not having himself an impressive playoff run. He’s allowed 65 goals this postseason, a career high. In fact, it’s 31 more goals than his previous playoff high. However, Quick doesn’t seem to think there’s much weight in analyzing statistics.
“When you get to something like this, it’s not about statistics – it’s not about statistics any time of the year to be honest – but I think those are just kind of something that people that don’t really know the game, it gives them something to judge off of,” Quick said.
“You’re going to get those high scoring games, you’re going to get low scoring games. It’s a playoff series.”
To be fair, he has a point in some regard. His stats aren’t impressive, but he’s also two victories from hoisting the Cup. At the same time, I wouldn’t be so fast to shake off Quick’s numbers as nothing but press material.
The fact is the Kings have been living dangerously ever since the postseason opening puck drop. They’ve fallen into series holes, and they’ve been forced to play from behind more often than not, specifically falling into two-goal deficits at least once in each of the past three games. While turnovers and sloppy play have had a hand in this, so has Quick’s performance in net. Sure, L.A. keeps finding a way to win even though it typically involves last-second heroics, but do you really think they want to keep falling behind early?
Even though Quick doesn’t seem to be concerned with stats, taking a look at this Cup run compared to his last shows some glaring discrepancies. In 2012, Quick boasted an incredible 1.41 GAA and an equally impressive .945 save percentage. This time around, his save percentage is down to .906, while his GAA has just about doubled to 2.80. He’s made his fair share of game-changing saves this postseason, but he’s also shown he can do better overall.
Do stats matter if the end result still involves a Stanley Cup victory? Not at all. But remember, the Kings have two wins in this series, not four. Sure, they’re much closer to winning it all than the Rangers are, but this doesn’t mean Quick can just shrug off poor numbers because who cares they’re two wins from a Cup. His team still needs him to play at his best until this series is over, and this requires improving his numbers.
Right now, you’d have to assume leading a game wire-to-wire would be a huge culture shock for Los Angeles. Of course, this doesn’t mean they wouldn’t welcome such a situation. In order to achieve it, they need to cut down on mistakes, but they also need better play from Quick. Stats may be forgotten if he’s hoisting the Cup, but they’ll be put right into the spotlight if they end up being the reason for the Kings losing control of the series.