In fairness to Jonathan Quick, he hasn’t had many bad starts this season. Bad goals? Yes, but he usually recovers.
It just so happened Wednesday that his last bad start– one of the worst of his career — was against Wednesday’s opponent, the Detroit Red Wings. There was some pressure on Quick to re-establish his lock on the No. 1 goalie position after a couple good starts by Jonathan Bernier, and he delivered with an outstanding 28-save effort.
Because of Quick, goals by Anze Kopitar and (officially) Dustin Brown were enough. Brown’s goal, a deflection of an Alec Martinez point shot during a second-period power play, held up as the game-winner.
Kopitar snuck in on the backdoor to tie the game at 1 at 7:50 of the first period, batting in the rebound of a Dustin Penner shot.
Darren Helm got the Red Wings on the board with one of those bad goals in the first period; Quick got a piece of Helm’s hard slapshot, but the puck trickled slowly behind him and over the goal line.
Credit the Kings’ penalty kill for allowing only one shot to reach Quick in 2:43 of man-advantage time for Detroit, which had scored at least one power-play goal in seven straight games.
By the time the day’s games were complete, the Kings needed a win to remain in the top eight of the Western Conference standings. They can’t be knocked out of the top eight tomorrow, either; only a Phoenix win against Calgary could push them into eighth.
A few more notes:
Penner is looking like a better fit on the line with Kopitar and Williams with each game. He has points in two of three games since arriving from Edmonton at the trade deadline. In the other, he screened the goalie on the game’s only goal.
Jarret Stoll went 12-4 in the faceoff circle and is up to ninth in the NHL in faceoff percentage (56.7).
Drew Doughty had to leave the ice early in the third period after taking a pretty blatant elbow to the face from Todd Bertuzzi (no penalty was called). He returned later in the period.
The Kings have killed 15 straight penalties, and 58 of their last 63 penalties.
It’s too early to say whether the “new look” power-play is a hit or miss. At times, the Kings couldn’t run it if their lives depended on it. At times, they could. It led to one goal, but not because the Red Wings were caught out of position. Video replays on television appeared to show that Alexei Ponikarovsky, not Brown, deflected Martinez’s shot with the blade of his stick. However, as of this blogging, the goal is still being credited to Brown.