Silently, stealthily, he operates. Jonathan Quick stands as a man against the tide in nets for the Los Angeles Kings. Previously, he was a relative unknown, keeping the crease warm until the Kings could get that legitimate number one goaltender. Little did anyone know, Quick always was the number one goalie the Kings were seeking. Working on the West Coast, he went unnoticed for the majority of his career…but now, no longer.
Jonathan Quick is a secret no more.
The US-born goalie has his club one win away from the Stanley Cup championship. His demeanor…cool. His stats…microscopic. His value…well, the Conn Smythe engravers should already have his name on the playoff MVP trophy.
The Los Angeles club came into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the West…and have played like anything but. Quick has sported a 1.36 goals against average and a .950 save percentage in the 2012 playoffs. Riding on their goalie’s back, the Kings have mowed down the first place Vancouver Canucks, second place St. Louis Blues, and third place Phoenix Coyotes. Critics kept waiting for signs that Quick was faltering. As of the morning of Game 4 of the Finals, those critics are still waiting. Quick and the Kings are threatening to sweep the New Jersey Devils and capture LA’s first Stanley Cup.
If some critics are thinking these stats are an anomaly, one only has to look at his 2011-12 regular season stats. In sixty-nine games, Quick won thirty five of those starts, with a 1.95 goals-against, and a sparkling .929 save percentage, with an astounding ten shutouts. These stats have him in the running for the Vezina trophy, and by all purposes, the Hart trophy. Unfortunately, Quick was not among the three nominees for the league MVP. Why he isn’t remains a mystery, as he kept the Kings afloat when their offence was ranked 29th out of 30 teams. It’s safe to say that without Quick and his heroics, the Kings wouldn’t even be an afterthought in these playoffs.
With fellow US-born goaltender Tim Thomas taking a year off, the stage is set for Quick to cement his position as the best American goaltender in the league. Barring a monumental collapse, Quick should get the nod as the starter for the US Olympic team in Sochi in 2014…provided NHLers are still participating once the dust settles from this year’s CBA clash. Regardless of nationality, the case has been made…Jonathan Quick is the best goaltender in the National Hockey League at this moment.
The Kings have the chance to win the Stanley Cup this evening. They hold a 3-0 stranglehold on the Devils in the series. They dominated the Devils in Game 3. Unless New Jersey finds a gear they haven’t reached yet, the Kings will win the Stanley Cup tonight, and Jonathan Quick will be the main reason why.
Long live the King.