Kings 1, Stars 0
Saturday, 10.22.2011 / 10:33 PM
Jonathan Quick is the most modest of winners. When he plays well, he praises the Kings’ defensemen for their efforts in front of him. Praises the penalty killers. Praises the forwards for their defensive efforts.
Quick deflects credit to just about everyone except the guy selling soda in Section 103. One gets the impression that he’d prefer to sit in his corner of the locker room and talk about anything but himself.
Well, that’s not happening these days. Quick is the man of the moment for the Kings, as he recorded his third consecutive shutout in a 1-0 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday before 18,118 at STAPLES Center.
``He’s a stud. It’s no secret in here,’’ defenseman Matt Greene said of Quick. ``We all know it. He’s a stud. He’s been doing it for a long time now for us, and it’s just fun to have him there. He allows guys to play their game without a lot of fear. You never want to turn over pucks as a D-man, but at the same time, it’s always nice knowing he’s back there. You’ve got an ace in hole.’’
Jack Johnson scored the game’s only goal, with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, as the Kings improved to 5-1-1 and won a battle of two strong-starting Pacific Division teams.
Most goalies go through a run of strong statistics at some point during a season, but Quick’s run is far beyond the norm. With his 28-save effort against Dallas, he did something no Kings goalie has ever done: shut out three consecutive opponents, and Quick also set a franchise mark for consecutive scoreless minutes.
Late in the third period, Quick surpassed Rogie Vachon’s shutout streak of 184 minutes, 55 seconds -- set in 1975 -- and when the Kings held on for the win, Quick’s streak reached a staggering 188:10.
``Obviously I do feel good, but we’ve got guys battling in all areas of the rink, especially in the D zone, where they’re battling along the wall and in front of the net, clearing out rebounds,’’ Quick said. ``They’re doing their jobs extremely well right now, and it’s making my job that much easier.’’
Quick recorded his 17th career shutout -- second only to Vachon’s 32 in Kings history -- and is the first NHL goalie to record three straight shutouts since Columbus’ Steve Mason in Dec. 2008. Quick also improved his season record to 5-0-1 with a little help from Johnson and his late-game heroics.
Johnson entered this season without a game-winning goal in 282 career NHL games. He now has three game-winning goals in seven games this season, the latest of which sent the Stars to defeat Thursday.
For 55 minutes, the Kings and Stars waged about as exciting and well-played of a scoreless game as any hockey fan could hope to see. The teams traded end-to-end chances and hold-your-breath moments, most notably when Dallas’ Michael Ryder rang a shot off the crossbar five minutes into the third period.
The low-scoring game was far from surprising, given the Kings’ shutout streak and the fact that Dallas had allowed two or fewer goals in six of its first seven games. The game’s only goal developed in a heartbeat.
Kings center Mike Richards won an offensive zone faceoff cleanly back to defenseman Rob Scuderi, who quickly moved the puck right. Jack Johnson, set up at the right point, fired a one-time slap shot through traffic, and the puck appeared to get deflected before it beat goalie Andrew Raycroft.
``We had talked about it beforehand. Richards had said how he wanted to win it back. It was a set-up play that worked out,’’ Johnson said. ``Scuderi, if it was a clean enough (faceoff) win, he was going to slide it over to me and try to set me up for a one-timer. We had tried to set that up all game, and usually they’re scrambled plays, but fortunately that one was a clean play and a great play by everyone, really.’’
The goal, with 4:58 left in the regulation, held up thanks to Quick, who made strong saves throughout.
Quick has not allowed a goal since Philadelphia’s Matt Carle scored with 6:31 remaining in regulation last Saturday, and now has a 0.81 goals-against average and a .972 save percentage this season.
``It’s great. It is a great feeling,’’ Quick said. ``I’ve never been a guy to look at numbers, shutouts, save percentage, that kind of thing. Obviously it’s good to have good numbers, but you’re judged by if you win or lose. That’s always what is most important to me and what is most important to this team. It’s just great to get the win. To get it in that fashion, it’s just the icing on top.’’