John Gibson’s first-ever Stanley Cup playoff appearance went great, posting a 28-save shutout.
But if the Kings have anything to say about it, his second will be much more difficult.
“I know he’s calm and cool or whatever, but it’s our job to make his job a lot harder,” Mike Richards said, per the L.A. Times. “It’s a tough situation that he’s put in, with [Saturday] night maybe, possibly, their season on the line.
“It’s now a best-of-three series, so it’s a lot of pressure to put on a young kid.”
The Kings are familiar with the “get-after-the-goalie” narrative, especially given what Jonathan Quick’s faced this postseason. In the opening round against San Jose, the Sharks made getting in Quick’s kitchen a priority and Mike Brown was the main instigator in the early part of the series, twice sending Kings players into Quick in the opening two games.
For the second straight game, Brown shoved a Kings player into Jonathan Quick, this time sending Tyler Toffoli flying into the crease in the first period.
“That’s the way I have to play. I didn’t think he was next to the goalie,” Brown said of the play. “I think Quick just fell back. Nothing intentional. I obviously want to get in and kind of rattle him, but it was nothing intentional. Just playing the hockey game.”
Here’s the second, the aforementioned Toffoli shove:
Getting in Quick’s head — or, at least attempting to — was San Jose’s M.O. throughout the series, though you could certainly question the strategy given 1) the Sharks underwent one of the biggest collapses in Stanley Cup playoff history, and 2) Quick got better the more they bumped him.
Still, the Ducks also made a point of getting physical with Quick after he stopped 69 of the 72 shots he faced in the first two games of the series, and had some success with it. Prior to Game 3, big-bodied forward Patrick Maroon explaining exactly what the Ducks planned to do.
“[Quick’s]seeing a lot of pucks. We need to get in his eyes, get in his head a bit,” Maroon said, per the L.A. Times. “We need to crash and bang, go to the net. We need all 20 of us. It’s what we’ve been doing all year. I think we have the character to do that.”
Since then, the Ducks have scored five times on 33 shots and chased Quick from Game 4.
Now the Kings are vowing to increase traffic in front of Gibson.
“We need to do more to get to him. We gave him too many easy shots and we didn’t crash the net and get people in front of him,” Drew Doughty said. “He played good, but we’ve got to do a better job.”