The Los Angeles Kings improved their chances of winning the Pacific Division and Jonathan Quick posted his NHL-leading 10th shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The Kings outshot Edmonton 28-14 through 40 minutes, but they had trouble finding the back of the net with Jeff Carter (ankle) out of the lineup. Finally, Slava Voynov launched a one-timer that beat Edmonton goaltender Devan Dubnyk just 34 seconds into the third period. Dwight King added an insurance goal for the Kings roughly 17 minutes later.
Quick has now allowed just two goals in his last four starts, although that feat is slightly less impressive when you factor in that he’s only faced 77 shots over that span. Two of those games have been against the Oilers, who have no shot of making the playoffs, and the slumping Calgary Flames. The Kings defense has done a great job of limiting those teams shots on goal and helping their goaltender.
All the same, Quick has to be seen as a serious contender for the Vezina Trophy. His GAA is second only to Brian Elliott, who started in about half as many games, and his save percentage ranks fourth in the list, just slightly below Henrik Lundqvist.
From a team perspective, the Los Angeles Kings now have a two-point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes in the race for the Pacific Division title, but the Kings have also played in one more game. Phoenix can maintain pressure on the Kings by beating the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
The San Jose Sharks are also still a serious threat to win the division. They can pull within one-point of the Kings by beating the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. The Sharks and Kings will then finish the season with a home-and-home series against each other.
This was Edmonton’s last chance to complicate a team’s playoff aspirations. They will play against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday in a game that won’t mean much to either squad. Edmonton will then finish their season in Vancouver on Saturday in a contest that might determine if the Vancouver Canucks secure the first seed and, possibly, even their second straight Presidents’ Trophy.