Discussion: Would You Have Started Martin Jones Yesterday?

An attempt to dissect Darryl Sutter's decision, without using hindsight. Okay, maybe a little bit.

Man, weren't you excited to see Ben Scrivens get the start in Toronto? We were. Darryl Sutter had other ideas, handing Martin Jones his fourth straight start in net on the second night of a back-to-back. Robert and Eric weigh in on that decision, and the Kings' situation in goal, below. What would you have done?


Obviously, if you look at the results, Darryl Sutter made the right move. Martin Jones came up big and stole the game away from Toronto and outshined his fellow Monarch alumnus Jonathan Bernier on a pretty big stage. But, as our illustrious colleague Eric T. from Broad Street Hockey showed, it is basically never a good idea to start goalies in back-to-back games. And even putting performance aside, LA could ill afford yet another injury to a backstop. We know Darryl Sutter likes to ride his goalies hard, but that is definitely not a winning strategy in the long run.

That being said, the Kings' goaltending situation has pretty much never looked brighter than it does right now. Some of the credit for that has to go to the Kings' defense. As a team, LA has allowed the 5th fewest shots on goal against in the NHL at 5v5. Yet, most of the credit has to go to Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones themselves. Their combined save percentage this year over 23 games has been .950. Not bad.


Let's be logical here, because Darryl Sutter doesn't care about your juicy narratives. He doesn't care that Ben Scrivens used to play in Toronto, or that he could be annoyed by being benched for a rookie. What is he thinking about? Maybe he's considering that goalies on back-to-backs typically struggle. But he's also thinking about Bill Ranford's opinion. You can read the quotes at LA Kings Insider but the general thought is, Ben Scrivens is doing fine but needs to put in work on some aspects of his game. If Sutter trusts his goalie coach, why not stick with the guy who's on top of his game? Maybe you worry about burning out a guy like Jonathan Quick (who gets 65-70 starts when healthy), but you're not gonna burn out Martin Jones (who will be on his way back to Manchester when Quick returns).

So I guess the thought is: if you were going to start a goalie two nights in a row, this was pretty much the exact time to do it, and the matchup to do it with. The Kings' defense normally does favors for their goalie, and Toronto doesn't normally provide a huge test.

Is Scrivens going to remember getting skipped over? Probably. Is he going to be professional enough to move on? Yes, and if his play falters, it won't be because of this. As Robert mentioned, he and Jones have done outstanding work in Quick's absence, and he'll stay on the club ahead of Jones when Quick returns. There are many worse places to be than in goal in LA, even as a backup.

So tell us what you thought of the call, and what you expect Sutter to do with his goalies going forward.