Jonathan Quick returned to the Kings’ lineup Saturday, leaving little doubt that he was all over the groin strain that sidelined him for 24 games. Quick made 27 saves in the Kings’ 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and made it clear there was no need for the team to keep three goalies on their roster. Martin Jones, a 23-year-old rookie, was the odd-man out. Jones was re-assigned Sunday to the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate at Manchester, N.H.
Jones took the league by storm, winning his first eight games in the NHL. He began with a nine-round shootout win over the Ducks as a fill-in for Ben Scrivens, who had filled in after Quick was hurt Nov. 12. Jones’ final numbers were remarkable, with an 8-3-0 record, a 1.41 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage plus three shutouts in 11 appearances. The Kings believe it was better to send him to Manchester so he could continue to play. He would likely have been scratched for games if he stayed with the Kings as the third goalie.
For now, the No. 1 goalie spot belongs to Quick, with Scrivens as his backup. Some day that order might change, but that day is not today. Quick figures to get the bulk of the work as long as he remains healthy.
The Kings did not practice Sunday, so Jones was unavailable for comment.