It was a shutout for Jonathan Quick.
But the L.A. Kings’ goalie, the Conn Smythe winner from a year ago, didn’t have to anything really extraordinary Thursday night.
The Kings skated to a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal, taking a 3-2 series lead and moving to within one win of a berth in the conference final.
The Sharks had just 11 shots on Quick through two periods, and 24 in total. But other than a Joe Pavelski chance in the final seconds of the third period, the degree of difficulty for Quick on this night was minimal.
“I didn’t think we tested him a lot tonight. There are a number of goalies in the league that could have performed that way tonight…he didn’t have to work hard,” said Sharks’ head coach Todd McLellan, as per a pair of tweets from Curtis Zupke of NHL.com.
There were differing opinions on that, however.
“We definitely had our chances. We’ve just got to bear down,” the Sharks’ Joe Thornton told the L.A. Times.
Quick takes over the Kings’ franchise lead in playoff wins with 27, moving one ahead of Kelly Hrudey.
He also has three shutouts in these playoffs, which is tops in the NHL.
In fact, a quick glance at the stats shows Quick the leader in three additional major categories, including wins (7 – tied with Jimmy Howard and Tuukka Rask); goals-against average (1.50); and save percentage (.948).
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.