After Thursday night’s 5-2 loss to Dallas — the fourth time this year they’ve allowed five or more goals in a defeat — Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter minced no words in explaining what needed improvement.
“Giving up four goals a game, you can’t win,” he told LA Kings Insider. “We need better goaltending.”
The goalie on the hook last night was Jonathan Quick, who allowed four goals on 22 shots before Stars forward Antoine Roussel potted the fifth into an empty net.
The loss brought Quick’s numbers on the year to 7-7-2 with a 2.59 GAA and .895 save percentage.
When asked again about the goaltending — this time, if he’s surprised it’s still an issue 22 games into the season — Sutter kept to his message.
“I’m saying we didn’t get good enough goaltending tonight,” he replied.
Quick wasn’t offering much explanation following the game — “I didn’t stop them, and usually when you don’t stop the pucks, they go in the net,” he said — and wasn’t completely at fault for the loss, as Sutter said the team also needed to be better defensively.
But that’s not diminishing the fact L.A. now has the NHL’s eighth-worst save percentage (.896), something else Sutter brought up after the Dallas game.
“It’s a stat that tells the truth,” he said. “That’s one stat that doesn’t lie, right? [Kari] Lehtonen tonight was at about a .940 or so. That’s a stat that always holds true. Goals against, save percentage — it’s a big thing.”
It’s fair to say that, if it weren’t for some solid play from Jonathan Bernier (5-1-0 this year with a .916 save percentage and 1.93 GAA), the Kings’ goaltending situation would be a concern.
But it’s hard to sayanything is a concern, because L.A. is on a roll. They’ve won seven of nine and sit fifth in the Western Conference, leading many to believe Sutter isn’t really critiquing the “goaltending” — he’s critiquing Quick.