LOS ANGELES—While the offense still can’t seem to score against its own shadow, Kings goalkeeper Jonathan Quick continues to come to the rescue.
Quick was tight as a drum again Thursday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, stopping 22 shots in a 1-0 overtime victory at Staples Center, his league-leading sixth shutout of the season.
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored the game-winner early in overtime, banking his shot off the skate of a Phoenix defender. Afterward, he said having Quick in the net in tight games is a big advantage.
“We’re winning games by one goal pretty much every time,” Doughty said. “Our goaltending has been huge for our success this year.”
Quick improved to 18-10-6 on the season, with 10 of the victories coming by one goal. He said the frequent tight games haven’t weighed on his mind.
“It seems like it has happened frequently,” Quick said. “But every game brings its own challenges for a goaltender. Sometimes you’re going to have to make 40 saves, sometimes you're going to have to make 18.”
Making things even tougher has been the ebb and flow of recent games. The Coyotes managed just 11 shots on goal in the first two periods, but had 11 in the third against Quick. In a 2-1 shootout loss Monday against the visiting Avalanche, he saw just 12 shots through the first two frames before facing eight in the third, including the tying goal with just under six minutes remaining.
“There were times when our systems caught up with each other and not much was going on,” Quick said of the Phoenix game. “But then there were times where both teams were getting chances. I do think we outplayed them for the majority of the game.”
Kings coach Darryl Sutter has been leaning heavily on Quick since he took over two weeks ago. He has started Quick in seven of eight games, but has been rewarded with a 5-0-2 record from his No. 1 goalie.
Getting more breaks for Quick is definitely on his mind, however.
“We just have to manage him properly,” Sutter said. “He’s one of the top three or four in minutes played. We have to be careful with that.”
Jonathan Bernier, a former first-round draft pick of the Kings, has been solid in a back-up role, but has received little offensive support from the league’s last-ranked offense. Sutter said he doesn’t have a long-term plan in place of when to start Bernier, but will feel comfortable when that time comes.
“We’re fortunate here, all of us, to have the type of young goalies that we have, for sure,” Sutter said.