SAN JOSE — He was last year’s Conn Smythe trophy winner, the award given to the playoffs’ Most Valuable Player.
Jonathan Quick was virtually unbeatable on the Kings march to the Stanley Cup and this season he has been rather ordinary. But for the second straight game, Quick made the big saves, which were his trademarks in last year’s Stanley Cup run.
On Tuesday night in San Jose, Quick turned back 33 of 35 shots, including point blank attempts by the Sharks Brent Burns and Logan Couture and then stopping T.J. Galiardi on a breakaway late in the final period as the Kings salvaged a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.
“In the playoffs last year, he played so unreal that he set the standard so high coming into the season. He’s played well all year and Tuesday night was another indication of how good a goalie he is,” said Kings forward Brad Richardson.
“Quickie is someone we don’t worry about at all,” said winger Justin Williams. “He puts the most pressure on himself to perform. Come the stretch run and into the playoffs, he’s going to have to be one of our best players and I am sure he will be.”
This season has seen Quicks’ goals against average and save percentage heading in the wrong direction. His goals against average has increased by half a goal from last season and his save percentage has dipped well below .900.
While the dip in numbers can be attributed to the injuries of stalwart defensemen Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene, Kings FSW television analyst Jim Fox said it may be a little more simplistic.
“I talked to Jonathan the other day. He was talking about big saves and he felt earlier in the year he was not making those big saves. In the game against Anaheim, he came two huge stops. I think there is a lot of different things going through the head of Jonathan Quick. Sometimes you try to do too much. I think now he is settling down and getting more comfortable,” Fox said. “I think a lot of players early in the year, they are just thinking about things that show you are doing well (statistics). It is not selfish at all. As the season winds down, you realize your numbers aren’t going to change. I think as the team is heading into the playoffs, Jonathan Quick is at the best place he has been all year because he is making the big saves that he is accustomed to.”
With Quick back on his game, it should give the Kings and their fans a great deal of optimism for another deep playoff run in an effort to try and win back to back Stanley Cups — something that should cause a great deal of concern for their opposition.