Jonathan Quick missed a shutout by 20 seconds on Tuesday. Against the St. Louis Blues tonight, Quick wasn't letting another one slip. Thank goodness he didn't, because the Los Angeles Kings needed every one of his 43 stops. 46, if you count the shootout.
Yeah, 46. The Blues were excellent all evening, while the Kings experienced a relapse into some of the issues which plagued them in their first few games. Then again, if you had asked me to guess the shot on goal totals without looking, I probably would have underestimated the Blues' total and overestimated the Kings'. To give you an idea, while the overall shot total was at 43-18, the even strength Corsi was a slightly less ugly 57-36. It wasn't a good game by any means, but between the Kings' injuries and the Blues' four days off, it would have been a surprise for LA to come out on top in the possession battle either way.
So were there bright spots other than Quick? Not too many. Anze Kopitar was the best forward on the ice. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli had the next-best shot differentials, but they were kept off the scoresheet and had their ice time slashed. The fourth line was bad. Jarret Stoll, Dwight King, and Dustin Brown were improved, and that pretty much covers it. On the back end, Drew Doughty had a very active night and was at the middle of many of LA's best chances. Alec Martinez... tried a lot of shots, I think?
On the St. Louis end, Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen were threatening. Vladimir Tarasenko was dangerous. Ian Cole and T.J. Oshie hit posts, though Oshie's shot was on an angle that gave him almost no chance to score. Alex Pietrangelo had a typically solid night. And as a whole, the Blues made so much more of their offensive zone time than the Kings made of theirs. The Kings didn't look as helpless in the neutral zone as they did against, say, Arizona, but the Blues were clearly better and probably deserved two points.
They only got one, thanks to Jonathan Quick. Quick's game had all the features of his best work; he made a number of spectacular stops, tried to get in a fight, exhibited solid positioning, and frustrated opposing shooters even as it became clear the Kings weren't scoring anymore. LA didn't even test Brian Elliott once in overtime, because it's not like they were going to score the game-winner before the shootout. Once there, Jeff Carter beat Elliott on the Kings' first shot, and Quick made three more saves to seal the second point.
Enough of these words, then. Here's your video summary of tonight's victory:
The Kings are back at Staples on Sunday against the Wild.