May 31, 2012

Quick, Kings take Game 1 of finals, remain red-hot on road

By Jesse Connolly

In some cases for goaltenders, the more rubber they see, the sharper they play. Throughout the 2012 postseason, Jonathan Quick (Hamden, Conn.) has proven that no scarcity or overabundance of shots fired in his direction on any given night are going to have any true effect on his current superhuman stretch of hockey.

Quick improved to 13-2 in the playoffs on Wednesday night, stopping 16-of-17 in Los Angeles’ 2-1 overtime win over New Jersey, giving the Kings a 1-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals. The former UMass standout lowered his goals-against average to 1.49 in the process.

Quick was unfazed by the Devils' limited number of scoring chances.

“Last series I played a handful of games where I'd see around 20 shots,” he said of the Kings’ battle against the Coyotes in the conference finals. “You know, I didn't really know what to expect coming into this game, seeing as we haven't played them in so long.  Watching Ranger games, they had anywhere between 40 shots and 20 shots against Lundqvist. I was just going shift by shift. If the team needed me, I just wanted to make the save.”

The only time he didn’t deny the Devils came with 1:12 remaining in the second period, as a shot by Anton Volchenkov ricocheted high, bounced off Patrik Elias and found its way to the back of the net.  

“It's a bounce. That's part of the game,” Quick said of the goal. “I felt like I played it the right way. I was trying to get it into the corner, over the glass, get a whistle. The way I directed it, it ended up, I don't know who it hit, but it hit somebody, then it ended up in the back of the net.”

In the third, fellow New Englander Mark Fayne (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) had a glimmering opportunity when a Ryan Carter shot rebounded right to him, leaving him with a wide-open net as Quick was out of position to the right. Unable to settle the puck down, Fayne fired wide.

"Just have to put it behind you," Fayne said when asked about dwelling on his golden chance to put the Devils ahead. "It's tough to deal with right now, but once you go to bed you have to forget about it." 

Anze Kopitar tallied 8:13 into the extra session to give the Kings the win in Game 1. More impressively, Los Angeles improved to 9-0 on the road during the playoffs and are currently riding an 11-game winning streak on the road, as they won their last two games in San Jose before being bounced by the Sharks in the first round last spring.

“I think we've outworked teams,” Quick said when asked to explain his team’s success outside of Staples Center. “I think whoever wins this series is going to be the team that outworks the other.”

L.A. did just that on Wednesday and will look to continue that trend when the series resumes at Prudential Center on Saturday night. 

Jesse Connolly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.