The San Jose Sharks recently bought out goaltender Martin Jones. Subsequently, he inked a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, thus leaving the Western Conference and the Pacific Division. Los Angeles Kings fans are very familiar with Jones, as he served as L.A.’s backup goalie for the franchise’s second-ever Stanley Cup victory in 2014.
Over the past three seasons, Jones has struggled. He’s posted three consecutive seasons with a .896 save percentage (SV%), and two seasons in a row with a goals-against average (GAA) of over 3.00, making him one of the worst goalies in the entire NHL. Despite this, he has managed to be a brick wall whenever L.A. meets up with their NorCal rivals.
Jones’ Regular Season Dominance Over the Kings
Since becoming a Shark in 2015-16, Jones has had L.A.’s number in the regular season, leading San Jose to a record of 19-6-3 against the Kings. If either team had won all of those 28 games in regulation, they would have amassed 56 points, so with 19 wins and three overtime losses, the Sharks nabbed an impressive 41 points.
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Comparatively, L.A. was 9-16-3 against Jones, totaling a measly 21 points. (Because both teams gained points via overtime losses, the total number of points awarded exceeds what would have been available if one team had won all the games in regulation time.)
Since Jones’ play began deteriorating in 2018-19, he has actually improved whilst skating against L.A. Over that span he has posted 10 wins (just over half of his 19 total wins), three regulations losses, and one overtime loss, equivalent to a points percentage of .75 percent. The Sharks and Kings are both poised to be in the Pacific Division next season with the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Seattle Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks. Comparatively, these are his records against L.A.’s divisional rivals in the aforementioned three seasons:
Besides Calgary and Seattle (who has yet to play), Jones’ win percentage against the Kings is higher than against any other team in the Pacific. Furthermore, this trend chipped away at points the Kings could have earned in the Honda West Division during the 2020-21 season. He posted a .500 record against the Minnesota Wild, a decisive winning record against LA (6-2-0), and had a losing record against the seven other teams in the division. Additionally, the only team’s he posted above a .900 SV% against this season were LA and the St. Louis Blues.
L.A. met the Sharks in the first round of the 2016 playoffs. This proved to be another example of the Kings being unable to solve Jones. The Sharks took the series in five games, where Jones backstopped the team in each game. His .912 save percentage significantly outperformed Jonathan Quick’s .886 save percentage. If you were to add this onto his regular season record against L.A., a 23-6-4 record becomes even more lopsided.
Sharks New Goalie Could Help Kings
The Kings have been unable to figure out how to score on Jones. He prevented L.A. from trouncing the Sharks when they met 2020-21, but he posted an abysmal win-loss record against every other team not named Minnesota. Excluding Calgary, the other teams who are poised to be in the Pacific Division in 2021-22 have had better luck figuring him out. Whether it’s been in the regular season or playoffs, Jones has puzzled the Kings, and his departure from San Jose could turn out to be great news around Hollywood.
The Kings are looking to make the playoffs next season, and the Sharks’ new goalie additions of James Reimer and Adin Hill should be more favourable match-ups than against Jones. L.A. has only played against Reimer twice since the 2017-18 season, and they split the games with a regulation win and a loss apiece. Last season, the Kings posted a winning record against Hill, as he won one game and lost two. L.A. should have more luck against the Sharks’ new goalies rather than Jones, who they have been unable to solve in six seasons of competing against; thus they should be able to collect more points against their divisional rival next season.
I am a lifelong hockey fan who will be covering the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks here at The Hockey Writers. Before joining The Hockey Writers I spent two years blogging about hockey.
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