- Craig Custance
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NEW YORK -- Tyler Toffoli is like the rest of us. When Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes an incredible save -- like he did on Mats Zuccarello in the first period of Game 3 -- Toffoli finds a moment to look at the scoreboard for a replay.
In this instance, he wasn't sure Quick got a piece of the puck.
The game was scoreless, the Kings' dominance hadn't kicked in just yet and Zuccarello had an open net when the puck appeared in front of him. He tried to quickly smack it past Quick, who dove in desperation with his stick to get just enough of the puck to preserve the scoreless tie.
Toffoli looked at the replay. He had to.
"I like to do that just because I think it's pretty amazing what he can do," Toffoli said. "I don't know what other guys do."
Dustin Brown has stopped looking.
When others on the bench or in the arena are staring in amazement at the replays, the Kings' captain is doing something else. It's not that he doesn't appreciate the saves; he does. It's just that he's seen them all before.
Brown had already played three seasons in Los Angeles when Quick arrived during the 2007-08 season. He has seen the way Quick moves laterally with lightning speed. He has seen the diving saves, the competitive fire, the guy who won't ever quit on a play until the puck is headed back the other way.
Sure, that save on Zuccarello was impressive, as were many of the 32 saves he made in recording his second shutout of these playoffs in Los Angeles' 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. But it's just what Brown has come to expect. I guess even watching Michelangelo paint got routine after a while.
"The best example is playing at the Olympics and seeing other guys react to it and sitting there, because I've played with him long enough and he's made enough of those saves you kind of expect him to do it," Brown said.
Coming into this series, the belief was that the Rangers needed Henrik Lundqvist to steal a game or two to win the Stanley Cup, and that hasn't happened. Nobody is blaming him for the goals he allowed in Game 3, but he still hasn't had his Quick moment: The moment when a game shifts completely because of the remarkable stop he has made.
The perception heading into the series was that the Rangers had an edge in goal. The Kings had it everywhere else: depth down the middle, one of the three best defensemen in the game in Drew Doughty, a dynamic goal-scorer in Marian Gaborik and playoff experience to spare.
Lundqvist was supposed to be the equalizer. Perhaps that was also a factor in bringing out the best in Quick.
"The guy at the other end of the ice is a very good goaltender as well, and I think that motivates Quickie because he's a competitor," Brown said.
In 1994, an 8-year-old Quick watched the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in decades with some friends from his home in Connecticut. He was hooked -- a Rangers fan.
Playing in a Stanley Cup finals game at Madison Square Garden meant something, even if it wasn't the first time he took the ice at MSG.
He pointed out after the game that he once competed in a shootout between periods of a peewee championship at Madison Square Garden.
"So to all you guys that said I never played here, I did play here once," he said to laughs after the game.
For a kid who grew up rooting for Mike Richter, this one had to be special. One more win here for him on Wednesday, and it gets even better.
12dScott Burnside and Craig Custance