For the first time since the season opener the Los Angeles Kings are going to have starting goaltender Jonathan Quick in their lineup on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.
Quick, who has played just 20 minutes of hockey this season, has been out of the lineup since Oct. 12 due to a groin injury. The team activated him from injured reserve on Saturday before the game.
In his absence the Kings had to rely on Peter Budaj to carry the load, and he did a pretty admirable job with a .917 save percentage (the best performance of his career) in 53 appearances. Keep in mind that Quick’s save percentage the past four seasons has been .914.
While Quick’s absence seemed like it could have been a big deal at the start of the year, the biggest factor in the Kings’ disappointing season has been on the offensive side, especially in recent weeks as the team’s goal scoring woes have seemingly hit rock bottom. In their past nine games the Kings have managed just 15 goals, and that includes one game where they scored six. Simple math says they scored only nine goals in the other eight games. Not great. They were also shutout three times during that stretch.
Even if Quick is the Kings’ best goalie, and even if he returns to the lineup and plays extremely well down the stretch, it is not going to make much of a difference if the offense continues to score at that sort of abysmal level.
The Kings enter Saturday’s game five points out of the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.