Quick has chance to raise his status to elite

April 9, 2012

Is this the season in which the Kings' Jonathan Quick can break through and become an elite goalie?

In the eyes of his coach, Darryl Sutter, that status is only reached in the playoffs, and in his two playoff series with the Kings, Quick has a 4-8 record in first-round losses to Vancouver and San Jose.

Sutter -- who in previous stops coached top goalies such as Chicago's Ed Belfour and Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff -- has been public in his challenges of Quick, who is widely favored to be one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy this season.

Sutter even name-dropped San Jose's Antti Niemi, whose numbers weren't nearly as strong as Quick's this season, in comparison.

"San Jose has a goaltender that has won a Stanley Cup," Sutter said. "He quietly goes about his business and doesn't get much credit, just criticism. And we have one that gets a lot of credit."

Does that mean, Sutter was asked, that Quick gets too much credit from the media?

"I'm not getting into that, because I know what happens when you answer those questions," Sutter said. "You have to prove it, right? That's what it's about."

Quick now gets a chance at revenge against Vancouver, the team that eliminated the Kings in the first round two years ago.


    --The Kings and San Jose Sharks met in a rematch of Thursday night's wild game in Los Angeles, in which there were three fights and the teams combined for one major penalty -- for boarding -- and 14 minor penalties. That doesn't even include the odd third-period incident in which Sharks winger Ryane Clowe, while on the bench, reached his stick on to the ice and played the puck. There were no fights in Saturday night's game and only two roughing penalties.
   --Finishing ahead of the San Jose Sharks is always considered a benchmark for the Kings, given that the Sharks had won the Pacific Division for four consecutive seasons and that the Kings hadn't finished ahead of the Sharks in the standings since the 2002-03 season. Once again, the Kings fell short as the Sharks finished one point ahead of the Kings. The teams were playing for seventh place in the West, so the Sharks will play the No. 2 St. Louis Blues while the Kings will play the No. 1 Canucks.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's just peaking at the right time, having a hot goaltender and (getting) timely goals and good special teams."  -- Kings center Jarret Stoll, on the Kings' keys to having playoff success

   --RW Justin Williams finished the season with 22 goals in 82 games, the fourth time in Williams' career that he has reached the 20-goal mark. After a strong start to this season, Williams fell into a midseason slump but then picked it up near the end, with nine goals in his last 19 games. "I think, deep down, he really wanted to get to that 20-goal thing," coach Darryl Sutter said of Williams. "That's still a benchmark for guys that are in the middle. It's a good benchmark, too, when you look at the game. I remember, not so long ago, that the goal on your team was to have nine 20-goal scorers."
   --RW Jeff Carter missed his fifth consecutive game because of an ankle injury but appears to be making enough improvement to stay on track for a return for the start of the Kings' first-round playoff series. Carter has been doing light to moderate skating and made the trip to San Jose with the Kings but did not play Saturday night. In recent days, Carter has said he expects to be ready for the start of the playoffs.
   --D Slava Voynov is in line to be one of three Kings rookies to make their playoff debuts next week, along with LW Dwight King and RW Jordan Nolan. Voynov has only 18 games of playoff experience total, two with the Russian league before he was drafted by the Kings and 16 games over the last two seasons in the American Hockey League. Voynov has become a high-minute defenseman for the Kings in their second defensive pair this season. "Experience is the best teacher," coach Darryl Sutter said. "Good, bad, whatever it is, it's still a great teacher for them. They need that. There's only one way to get it."