Jonathan Quick

Jakub Voracek’s assist was straight out of a video game (Video)

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When you torch a team 8-2 like the Philadelphia Flyers did to the Washington Capitals in Philly’s home-opener, you’re going to stack up some impressive highlights.

Even so, it seems appropriate to take a step back and just gape in awe at the borderline-obscene work from Jakub Voracek, who undressed helpless Caps defenders before setting up Wayne Simmonds‘ goal.

You can see that absurd display of skill in the video above, although it might be even more fun to watch via the Flyers’ funky GIF, which practically begs for cheesy DJ scratching sound effects:

Goodness. That’s how you begin a five-game homestand.

While we’re sharing some Saturday highlights, a bit that will provide mixed feelings for the Flyers fans still in the room.

The good: James Reimer deprived the Pittsburgh Penguins of a goal with some beautiful work in net.

The bad, for Flyers and Panthers fans: Pittsburgh still beat Reimer and the Florida Panthers 4-3 on Saturday.

Finally, here is Jonathan Quick adding to the Buffalo Sabres’ frustrations with this save, contributing to the Los Angeles Kings’ 4-2 win:

Quick deserves a spare moment of recognition for his quietly strong start to the season, matching the Kings’ 3-0-1 opening record. He has a shutout, has only allowed seven goals in four games, and sports an impressive .943 save percentage.

(Most of those stops were probably by a wider margin than the save above.)

For a recap of Saturday’s events, be sure to check out The Buzzer.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Saturday was awful for great goalies

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Look, there were some good-to-great goalies who enjoyed strong Saturday performances.

Jonathan Quick continued his strong beginning to 2017-18, getting two wins while allowing a single goal as the Kings beat the Sharks 4-1. Corey Crawford snubbed the dangerous Columbus Blue Jackets in Chicago’s 5-1 victory. Braden Holtby got the better of his regular Vezina rival Carey Price. The Nashville Predators still have no answer for Matt Murray. There’s no denying that Marc-Andre Fleury is off to a special start for Vegas, too.

Even in defeat, Craig Anderson sparkled in Ottawa’s shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings. He gave Jonathan Bernier‘s stupendous stop a run for its money here:

Still, as you can see in the video above this post’s headline, it was often a brutal evening for some big-name goalies.

In some cases, the evenings were crushingly short, too, leaving those netminders to stare out in disbelief on the bench as games played out.

  • Henrik Lundqvist only made it through one period against the Toronto Maple Leafs, at times looking shocked that he even stayed out that long. Lundqvist yielded five goals on 17 shots as Toronto dominated early; at one point the Leafs crowd gave Lundqvist a “Bronx cheer” after making a save. Frederik Andersen would end up feeling Hank’s pain, as the Rangers stormed back to tie things up 5-5 heading into the third. The dumb, fun, Leafs also made it a tough night for Lundqvist’s backup, Ondrej Pavelec.

It’s been a very rough start for Lundqvist so far, who might miss having a backup like Antti Raanta to pick up his pieces.

  • Do you think Holtby gets annoyed by all the Carey Price hype?

While Holtby stopped 38 out of 39 shots to frustrate the Montreal Canadiens in Washington’s 6-1 win, Price couldn’t slow down red-hot Alex Ovechkin. Like Lundqvist, Price only made it through one period. In that case, he gave up one Ovechkin hat trick plus a T.J. Oshie goal. After a fantastic debut, this one hurt for the Habs.

  • At least in the cases of Lundqvist and Price, they were facing an onslaught of shots and scary offenses.

Cam Talbot sat on the Oilers’ bench with his mask still on after allowing three goals on just seven shots. It seemed like the Vancouver Canucks were going to embarrass Edmonton, but instead they just humiliated Talbot. Laurent Brossoit didn’t give up a goal, but Vancouver held off Connor McDavid & Co. for a 3-2 upset.

  • Robin Lehner fared a little better than his more highly regarded colleagues, almost making it through half of the Sabres’ eventual 6-3 loss to the Islanders. Still, the angry goalie gave up four goals on 16 shots before making way for Chad Johnson.

Quick, Kings shut out Flyers

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The Philadelphia Flyers, playing for the second time in as many nights, just couldn’t find the equalizer in Thursday’s contest against the L.A. Kings.

Despite outshooting the Kings, including by a 17-5 margin in the third period, the Flyers dropped a 2-0 decision on the road in large part because of the play of L.A. netminder Jonathan Quick, who turned aside all 35 shots he faced for the shut out.

There have been a number of skaters scoring hat tricks through the first two days of the new season. In some cases, those hat tricks have made franchise history. Per the NHL, Quick became the third goalie in Kings franchise history to record a shut out in the opener, joining Rogie Vachon and Stephane Fiset in that category.

Trevor Lewis and Tyler Toffoli both scored for the Kings.

The Flyers continue their road trip on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, and then Tuesday against the Nashville Predators.

The Kings visit their California rivals, the San Jose Sharks, on Saturday.

Related: Kings ‘have a plan’ to keep Quick healthy this season

Canucks, Kings ‘put on a show’ during first NHL preseason game in China

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SHANGHAI (AP) A golden dragon was held aloft on poles by skaters. Kobe Bryant appeared on video. NHL mascots gave the crowd a primer on what this odd game is all about.

NHL preseason hockey made its debut in China – a 5-2 victory by the Los Angeles Kings over the Vancouver Canucks – in a step by the league to crack an immense market.

The fans in Shanghai got a fast and physical display Thursday – 17 power plays and 57 shots on goal, all met with loud cheers. Each hard check drew a collective “oooh” or “aaah.”

“Obviously, you wanted to put on a show for the fans here and they got to see some goals, too,” said Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi, who scored the Canucks’ first goal.

An announcer came onto the ice to explain the finer points of the game as Fin (Vancouver’s killer whale) and Bailey (Los Angeles’ lion) acted out infractions such as charging, crosschecking, tripping and hooking.

A golden Chinese dragon came out next, hoisted on poles by seven skaters. A group of Chinese kids in hockey uniforms joined the NHL players during China’s national anthem.

With Beijing to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, the NHL is showcasing two preseason games in a country unfamiliar with hockey. The Kings and Canucks play their second game in Beijing on Saturday.

Even if the rules remain somewhat of a mystery, the crowd appreciated the speed and collisions.

“To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know the crowd, the noise, the atmosphere,” Los Angeles coach John Stevens said. “I think the whole thing for me is we’re here to grow the game. It’s my hope that the more they see it, the more people like it.”

Tanner Pearson scored twice for the Kings and Alec Martinez and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist. Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.

Team allegiances were hard to find in the crowd, the most demonstrative fans being rowdy Canadians waving their country’s flag.

Spectator Inge Zhang was more appropriately attired for an NBA game, wearing a Miami Heat jersey with pink letters. A media manager for the Shanghai Sharks basketball team, she was excited because she heard a certain NBA great might be there.

“So we came here actually for Kobe Bryant,” she said while her friend laughed. “But I love this sport, too.”

Bryant, in fact, did show, although in a video message to support his hometown Kings.

“I see more foreigners here tonight than Chinese, but I think there are still a lot of hockey fans in China,” Zhang added. “I think the NHL should take this opportunity to grow the sport here.”

That’s the plan now that the NHL has signed a contract to bring two preseason games to China for six of the next eight years.

“The effort here really is to build from the grassroots up, to try to grow the appreciation for the sport, the understanding of the sport,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said before the game. “We’ve certainly made the Chinese Ice Hockey Federation and the Chinese government aware that we’re willing to help any way we can as they gear up and prepare for the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games.”

But this is the first step in a long process.

“It’s great for China itself to see the NHL live and in person, see the speed of the game, how good the players are,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “But whenever you’re bringing hockey to a new country, it’s going to take time. I think it’s great the NHL is committed to doing that.”

Daunting Drew Doughty decision looms for Kings

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This post is part of Kings Day on PHT…

Out of context, re-signing Drew Doughty is as close to a no-brainer as it gets in the NHL.

A resounding resume

The Norris Trophy winner and elite defenseman has been a rock for the Los Angeles Kings, and his significance might only become more pronounced as the franchise deals with big changes (and losses on the blueline) in 2017-18.

Now, $7 million is undoubtedly a lot of money, but Doughty would command a (flinches) king’s ransom on the open market. So, when that cap hit expires in 2018-19, Doughty will get paid. It’s remarkable that, considering his robust resume of accomplishments, Doughty is now just 27 and will be 29 when his current deal expires.

Fixer upper

The question the Kings face isn’t really about re-signing Doughty.

Instead, it’s the difficult riddle of trying to squeeze out more runs with this current core or giving a rebuild a bold shot in the arm by – wait for it – trading Doughty sometime during the next season or two.

Los Angeles could conceivably gain a lot in trading Doughty, especially if GM Rob Blake is creative. In making such a courageous move, the Kings could enjoy some combination of:

  1. Salary cap relief, in convincing a trade partner to eat ugly deals in Dustin Brown ($5.875M through 2021-22) and/or Marian Gaborik ($4.875M through 2020-21) as part of a Doughty deal.
  2. Gain precious draft assets and/or prospects. Much like other contenders, the Kings’ farm system took some hits as they angled to contend with this current group. It was generally worth it, but now Blake & Co. need to pick up the pieces.
  3. Trading for roster players who are young and cheap.

Why they must ponder the seemingly unthinkable

Let’s not forget just how old this team looks. By the end of Doughty’s contract, Brown and Jeff Carter will both be 34. Anze Kopitar, who just turned 30, will be 32. Jake Muzzin will be 30 and will only have one year remaining on his bargain $4M deal. Alec Martinez will be 32. Jonathan Quick will be 33. Gaborik will be 37 and, barring a buyout or move, will still be on the books for two more seasons.

We’ve already seen Kopitar struggle, and while Carter’s been resoundingly productive at a great rate, Father Time seems to punish snipers as much as anyone.

Even Doughty would be close to 30 by then.

It’s unclear how many of these Kings deals are easy to move, and to some, that might serve as a signal to just go for it and then suffer through a rebuild.

Still, you wonder how desirable it would be for Doughty to stay if Los Angeles really starts to slide, although it wouldn’t be surprising if he remained loyal to a squad he won two Stanley Cups with.

A matter of time

On the bright side, the Kings have a full season before they can even sign Doughty to a contract extension, so 2017-18 could serve as a helpful barometer for this situation. Even so, you never know when an optimal trade offer might come; a team could conceivably be willing to give up far more for Doughty if it means getting him for a season or more at such a valuable rate.

It’s all a lot to take in, and trading Doughty would almost certainly stand as a wildly unpopular move with Kings fans, even if the returns were solid and the logic is sound.

At minimum, it’s something management should think long and hard about. It could be one of the most fascinating situations to watch, especially if you’re the type of hockey fan who pines for rare big trades after seeing that mammoth Kyrie Irving – Isiah Thomas trade in the NBA.