When the NHL season began people around the league were looking for great performances in between the net night in and night out from goalies such as Henrik Lundvquist, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, and Pekka Rinne. People knew the type of potential goaltender Jonathan Quick possessed, but no one was really anticipating him having the year that he had this past season and throughout this year’s playoffs. This year it seems as if Jonathan Quick was on a mission this year to help his team earn the right to call themselves champions and during his mission, no one was going to stop him from getting what he wanted most.
Jonathan Quick entered this season knowing that he must improve as a goalie. Despite having great season prior to this one, he himself wanted to progress and get better in order to help out his team. He started off the season the right way as his phenomenal play in between the pipes earned him an opening day victory against the New York Rangers in a 3-2 OT thriller. The Kings opened up the season hot, winning six of their first seven games. During this time, Quick went onto record three consecutive shutouts. This feat put him just two more consecutive shutouts away from tying the NHL record for most consecutive shutouts performed by a goalie.
With the pressure on in L.A, Quick certainly produced as he went onto have a career best season in the following categories; goals allowed, save percentage, and shutouts. This type of play helped propel the Los Angeles Kings into a position that they are not quite used to, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Everyone began to see the difference in Quick’s game this year as his aggressiveness and dominance began to show early on in the season. Unfortunately it wasn’t all good for the L.A Kings as they began to sputter out early in the season with a five game losing streak and a record of 6-6 in the month of November.
December wasn’t any better for the Kings has they had another five game losing streak. With the team struggling, they needed a boost to help them get out of their funk. However, January wasn’t the best of months either for Jonathan Quick as he went 4-8.
However, as it got down to crunch time, Quick proved to everyone why he can be an elite goalie in the league as he finished off the regular season with a record of 10-5. At the time, the Kings had accumulated enough points to earn a spot in the postseason as the 8th seed in the Western Conference. This was the third straight season the Kings were able to qualify for the playoffs after failing to make the postseason for six straight seasons. There was definitely excitement throughout L.A.
Since the Kings qualified as the 8th seed, they were forced to go up against the heavily favored number one seeded Vancouver Canucks. With a large task at hand, the Kings were definitely not afraid as they went onto defeat the star-studded lineup of the Canucks in an amazing 5 games. A large reason as to why the Kings were able to defeat the Canucks was because of play from Jonathan Quick. Quick was absolutely phenomenal in the opening series against Vancouver. In game three of the series, Quick completed a 41 save shutout as the Kings took a commanding 3-0 series lead.
After defeating the Canucks, the Kings were up for another big challenge as they were forced to face the number two seeded St. Louis Blues. However, the Kings continued their dominate play as they went onto sweep the favored Blues in four games. Again, Quick was phenomenal as the Kings continued to ride the hot play from their offense and their star goaltender.
It was onto the Western Conference Finals for the Kings. The Kings were not expected to be in the position they were in, and neither was their opponent, the Phoenix Coyotes. The two teams both faced many different obstacles in their march towards the cup. However, both teams proved a lot of different people including myself wrong as they both showed that they definitely deserved a spot in the conference finals. When the series started, people were ready for a hard fought series that can possibly make it to a game seven because of the play of both goaltenders, Jonathan Quick and Mike Smith. With high expectations for a long series, the two teams came out onto the ice for game one ready to do battle. Unfortunately for Phoenix, the Kings seemed to have wanted it more. The Kings took the first the games of the series as Jonathan Quick performed a game two shutout, saving all 24 shots he was faced with. The Coyotes came back to win game four, but the Kings were ready to move on after they defeated Phoenix 4-3 in overtime in game 5.
The Kings were finally conference champions for the first time since the 92-93 season. Now it was a wait game as they watched the Eastern Conference Finals closely. With the Rangers being eliminated by the New Jersey Devils, the Stanley Cup Finals was now set; the Los Angeles Kings vs. the New Jersey Devils. At the beginning of the season this finals matchup seemed unlikely, however with the hard work put in by both teams they proved that seeding doesn’t matter as long as you have great chemistry with your coaches and the guys in the locker room. The series opened up in New Jersey. Normally this might favor the home team, but not this year. It seems as if the Kings prefer playing on the road. Amazingly, the Kings have yet to lose a road playoff game with a road record of 9-0.
With the series now underway, the Kings seem to be the clear cut favorite as Quick continues to be nearly impossible to score on. The Kings took the first game with a 2-1 OT win as Anze Kopitar sneaked the game winning goal past Devils goalie, Martin Brodeur. Jonathan Quick saved 17 of 18 shots. If Quick continues his dominance, he can become the second straight goalie to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, but more importantly, the chances of the Kings winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history will be higher than ever.
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Topics: Anze Kopitar, Conn Smythe Trophy, Eastern Conference Finals, Henrik Lundvquist, Jonathan Quick., Los Angeles Kings, Martin Brodeur, Mike Smith, New Jersey Devils, New Rangers, Pekka Rinne, Phoenix Coyotes, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Miller, St Louis Blues, Stanley Cup Finals, Vancouver Canucks, Western Conference Finals