Based on the last 24 hours, you almost get the feeling L.A. is a little tired of hearing about John Gibson.
Anaheim’s rookie netminder, who has won two straight against the Kings while stopping 67 of 70 shots, has become a major story in this second-round series — and the Kings are not-so-subtly trying to put the 20-year-old in his place.
“As good as he is, he’s not impossible to beat,” Kings d-man Drew Doughty said, per the Associated Press. “I’d take Quickie [Jonathan Quick] over him any day still.”
Doughty’s remarks come the day after L.A.’s 4-3 loss and subsequent comments made by head coach Darryl Sutter, who sarcastically refereed to Gibson as the most amazing goalie he’s ever laid eyes on.
“He’s the best goalie I’ve ever seen,” Sutter said, with just the slightest bit of sarcasm. “I can’t believe he got one by him tonight.”
Intentional or not, both sets of comments put Quick in a spotlight with Gibson — and it’ll be very interesting to see how that plays out. Quick’s a fiery competitor that’s shown a history of rallying when his back’s up against the wall; in 2013, he rebounded from allowing two shaky goals against the Blues to capture the series in four straight and, this year, he responded brilliantly after going down 0-3 to San Jose. Quick will need to be as good now — if not better — after giving up nine goals on his last 57 shots faced, posting a sub-par .842 save percentage.
The other thing to consider from Sutter and Doughty’s comments? The mental angle.
The Kings clearly want to try and ratchet up the pressure on Gibson because — as they showed against San Jose — winning the fourth game of a series is by far the most difficult. For as good as the Ducks’ netminder has been, he’s still a 20-year-old kid with just five NHL starts on his resume and that lack of experience could loom large in high-intensity situations.
Just ask Sutter.
“A lot of pressure on [Gibson] now,” he explained. “A lot of pressure on him.”