Jonathan Quick has been protected from criticism this season, except when it comes to Darryl Sutter. Quick's struggle to get back to form was a big factor in the team's slow start, and Sutter repeatedly made it clear that his save percentage needed to improve.
It is the plain truth. In Quick's first ten starts, he had a .891 save percentage. It's since improved a hair to .895 -- but that's still replacement-level goaltending, far below where it needs to be. "Below average" doesn't cover it.
Save percentages are highly volatile in the short term, so we can expect his numbers to return to normal over time -- but Quick also doesn't look comfortable out there himself yet. This may be why Sutter is now boosting him up, reminding reporters that Quick was in net for their last win over the Blues (Bernier, the victim of deflections, had been pulled when the score was 3-1 to spark the team). Quick is also getting another consecutive start.
Given that the defense has also struggled in March, we'd better hope both Quick and the rest of the team put it back together. Their winning streak righted the ship -- but the West is so tight, that doesn't mean they have much breathing room at all.
Calgary has just gotten stalwart Miikka Kiprusoff back in net and valuable possession forward Mikael Backlund at center. Their playoff hopes aren't sunk yet, so they should be highly motivated to begin their own turnaround tonight.
Seats: Los Angeles Kings tickets
Flames (projected) lineup:
Kings (projected) lineup:
Notes: It's Legends Night again, which means the Kings will be wearing their purple and gold uniforms and holding a pregame ceremony to honor fan favorite Kelly Hrudey, who was in net for most of the Kings' memorable playoff run in 1993.
Continuing the Kings' run of inspired free giveaways, every fan in attendance will receive a classic Hrudey-style bandana. Luckyyy.
Kelly Hrudey will also be signing autographs at Staples from 5:00-5:30 before the game tonight. Get there early before Rudy Kelly kidnaps him.
Go Kings Go