Jonathan Quick, to say the least, was involved in the L.A. Kings’ 1-0 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Quick was spectacular, making 43 saves, not allowing a goal in the breakaway competition, to record the shutout. Yes, according to NHL.com, he was named the first star and quite deservedly so. That gives Quick 32 career shutouts, which ties him with Rogie Vachon for first on the Kings’ all-time shutout list, according to the league’s public relations department.
The Kings had only 18 shots on net, none in the overtime, through 65 minutes of hockey. Jeff Carter was the only skater to get the puck past a goalie, scoring in the opening round of the shootout. That was it.
Back to Quick, who has allowed one goal in the last 75 shots he’s faced. Not only did he have to make save after save to keep his team in this one, he didn’t mind sticking up for himself, either.
Quick and Blues forward Alexander Steen got involved in a scuffle in the second period, causing a raucous around the L.A. net and bringing St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott to his hash marks, should the situation have escalated. It didn’t. Quick was assessed a roughing minor and Steen a slashing minor.
The Los Angeles Kings are doing all they can to keep those dynasty talks alive.
On Wednesday, defenseman Jake Muzzin — a key contributor in each of L.A.’s last two playoff runs — was signed to a five-year contract extension, keeping him in L.A. through 2019-20 campaign.
Per TSN’s Darren Dreger, the deal is $20 million over five years, good for a $4 million average annual cap hit and a nice raise for Muzzin, who’s in the last of a two-year deal that pays $1M annually. When the extension kicks in, Muzzin — who was a pending RFA — will become the Kings’ third highest-paid defenseman, trailing only Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov.
The 25-year-old has emerged as a quality producer for the Kings since making his NHL debut four season ago. Muzzin recorded a career-high 24 points last year and was fantastic in the playoffs, scoring six goals and 12 points (leading all L.A. defensemen in tallies). The former OHL Sault Ste. Marie product also averaged 23:24 TOI per game in the postseason, second-most on the team.
With Muzzin locked up, the Kings now have the following players under contract through 2019: Muzzin, Doughty, Voynov, Jonathan Quick, Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
When will the Edmonton Oilers’ rebuild end? It certainly didn’t look like it was nearing its conclusion while the Kings cruised to a 6-1 victory Tuesday night.
Edmonton was missing some key players in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle tonight, but the Kings were without Marian Gaborik, Trevor Lewis, and defenseman Jake Muzzin, so it wasn’t like the Oilers were the only ones hurting. Sure, it was a game that featured the defending Stanley Cup champions, but Edmonton also gave up four or more goals in regulation to Calgary and Vancouver in its previous two contests.
Perhaps the most depressing part of this game for Oilers fans was seeing the heroics of the Kings’ young players. While Edmonton has endured a series of losing seasons in an attempt to build through the draft, Los Angeles has been able to have its cake and eat it too.
The Kings had the 30th overall pick in 2012 because they won the Stanley Cup and used it on Tanner Pearson, who had two goals and an assist tonight. We’re only three games into the season, but so far he’s arguably been the league’s top rookie.
His linemate Tyler Toffoli — a second round pick in 2010 — added a goal and an assist, including this shorthanded gem:
Along with Jeff Carter, Toffoli and Pearson’s ‘That 70s line’ has been one of the best trios of the young season. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams also found the back of the net in the blowout.
Jonathan Quick came within a minute of earning a shutout, but Oilers forward Matt Hendricks managed to end his bid.
That goal might be seen by some as the silver lining for Edmonton tonight, but the bigger consolation is that the season has barely gotten started. There is still more than enough time for the Oilers to turn this around and have a respectable campaign, even if they haven’t had the start they were aiming for.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter had some nice things to say about Edmonton before tonight’s game, but the Oilers certainly haven’t looked like a team that can compete with the defending Stanley Cup champions so far tonight.
Compounding the Oilers’ problems was their announcement that goaltender Viktor Fasth has suffered a groin injury and will not return Tuesday. That marked the end of a rough night for him.
That 70s line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson struck again early in the first period to give the Kings the lead:
It wasn’t long before Justin Williams followed it up with his first goal of the season. The Kings’ hot unit struck again at 9:49 of the first frame thanks to Toffoli’s superb effort:
Fasth turned aside eight of the 11 shots he faced.
After starting the 2013-14 campaign with a 1-6-1 stretch, Edmonton is in danger of dropping its third straight game this season.
After a lackluster start to the season against the San Jose Sharks and a narrow loss to the Arizona Coyotes, the Los Angeles Kings have finally forced themselves into the win column. They took the lead early against the Winnipeg Jets and cruised to a 4-1 victory Sunday night.
The Marian Gaborik-Anze Kopitar duo that was so effective in the 2014 playoffs combined for their first goal of the season, but it was the line of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Tanner Pearson that led the charge tonight. The trio accounted for the Kings’ other three goals with each of them finding the back of the net.
Pearson’s goal at 2:03 of the second period made it 3-0 and chased Jets rookie goaltender Michael Hutchinson from the contest. It was just Hutchinson’s fourth career NHL game.
At the other end of the ice Martin Jones was solid, stopping 29 of 30 shots to give starter Jonathan Quick a night off after he played Saturday.
The Kings will look to build off of tonight’s success when they face Edmonton on Tuesday. For Winnipeg, this concludes a three-game road trip. The Jets will get four days off before making their home debut against Nashville on Friday.