Kings weekend roundup = Wins; I'll take 'em
The Kings were perfect this weekend, going 2 and 0 against two conference rivals; Phoenix being within their division makes it an even bigger win.
Now, winners of four straight games, the Kings will hope that the momentum continues to carry into this week as the schedule does not get too much easier for them.
Lucky for the Kings, they are off until Wednesday which should shore up some rest days for some players. Next up are the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday and then Thursday night against Vancouver. These are two teams that do have very gifted offensive players who can take control of the game in favor of their club. The defensive pairings will need to be aware of who is on the ice and that their job is to contain them. The defense units also need to block shots from the perimeters, and clear the lane for goaltender Jonathan Quick to be able to see the shots that are coming through.
One player of note that is going to benefit from a few days off would be Justin Williams. Although, the Kings have not lost too much offense (if any at all) with Williams injury, it is only a positive to get him back into the line up and soon. The top line is still clicking well, however, Williams gives that extra offensive push and his return helps round out the top three lines again.
Jonathan Quick is a name I’d like to bring up during this Kings tidbit. He is now posting a record of 8 wins with 3 losses on the season and has a 2.91 goals against average and a .897 save percentage. Yes, those numbers are not stand out numbers and do need to improve if the Kings want to stay within the playoff race for the entire season. In my estimation, Quick would need a .910 save percentage with a 2.62 goals against average in order to really be able to help the Kings dominate within the Western Conference. Giving up 3 goals a game or more will be problematic in this Western Conference and within the Pacific Division. The Kings have offense, but offense does not bail you out each game.
When the bigger games start being played (although I am one to feel that an entire season from the first drop of the puck until the final day of the regular season schedule are when games count) the Kings need to solidify themselves beyond the blue line towards the goal. Quick is a very good goaltender, and has shown signs of greatness in his short NHL career however, he needs to step it up one notch, take one baby step and get yourself into the next level of goaltending. What do I mean you ask? It’s time to grow, to advance into the next tier of goaltenders. Jonathan Quick right now is still a middle of the pack guy, with respectable numbers that have made him the number one goalie for the Kings, however, he is not a top ten goaltender, maybe not even a top fifteen in this league just yet. Do I think he has the tools (as well as the team in front of him) to get him to the next tier? Absolutely. And you will see what I mean as this season continues.
There will be bad games, games where the focus isn’t there, games where the team will be flat in front of him, and the list can go on. These are expected, of course, but the expectations of merit are those of Jonathan Quick becoming a second tier name netminder.
Kings fans, can and will Jonathan Quick be able to have his name mentioned with the Nabakov’s, Kiprusoff’s, Lundqvist’s, Vokoun’s, and Khabibulin’s of this league? I’d love to hear your feedback on that question. You can e-mail me your response (or comment right within this blog) at e-mail Anthony .
That would be my goal for Quick’s personal goal for this season. His name has been mentioned as being called in for Team USA’s goaltending position for the upcoming Olympic Games and if that is the case, then the time to seriously prepare and better your game, Mr. Quick, is right now.
So let’s sit back these next two nights, enjoy the fact that the Los Angeles Kings are second in the Western Conference and first in the Pacific Divsion currently and hope that the winning ways continue throughout the season rather then slide. Yes, we will have our ups and downs but streaks can make or break a team. If the losing streaks are kept to small amounts and the winning streaks come more often – hey, welcome to the playoffs Kings fans (and of course, that is an obvious statement – however it is one that is difficult to obtain).