Watch Premier League action:

Puck Daddy

Jonathan Quick’s final stage of playoff redemption

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, blocks a shot by New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Los Angeles
.

View photo

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, blocks a shot by New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Wednesday, June 4, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES – Before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick was asked to break down the virtues of his counterpart Henrik Lundqvist’s game. 

“He’s one of the best in the world, and he has been for quite a while now,” said Quick.

Moments later, another Lundqvist question, about what makes the New York Rangers goalie so effective.

“He’s one of the best in the world, and has been for quite a while now,” said Quick.

As evidenced here, it’s safe not to expect any Thomas/Luongo “tire-pump” chirping in this series between Quick and Lundqvist. The Rangers goalie is the better of the two, and has been throughout the postseason, leading the NHL in save percentage (.928) while Quick lingers in the SV% ghetto (.907) along with playoff disappointments like Ryan Miller and the diminishing returns of Corey Crawford.

But the Stanley Cup Final is hockey’s “Men In Black” neurolizer: One flash of brilliance and championship metal raised above your head, and the previous three rounds slip into the ether. 

FLASH!!! … Jonathan Quick was stellar in Game 1 and, frankly, outplayed Lundqvist.

“I think Jonathan Quick was our best player tonight,” said Coach Darryl Sutter.

Quick stopped 25 of 27 shots in the 3-2 overtime win for the Kings. Neither goal was on him: Benoit Pouliot’s nasty shot on a breakaway after a Drew Doughty turnover, followed by Carl Hagelin's bank off the skate of Slava Voynov. The rest of the way, he made several key saves, including one on another Hagelin breakaway in the final minute of regulation.

“He created one earlier in the game, he’s got a lot of speed. He creates a turnover and comes in and tried to go high glove. You’re lucky you get a piece of it,” said Quick.

Of course, critics will claim Quick was more lucky than good in Game 1. The Kings didn’t allow a Rangers shot in the third period for nearly 10 minutes, and outshot them 20-3 in that frame. All Quick had to do was be vintage Marty Brodeur with the trapping Devils: Stay focused, stay patient and make the inevitable save.

“That’s part of the game. You’ve had that happen before, so you know how to approach it,” he said.

So how do we approach Quick in 2014?

He’s never going to be the guy who posted a .946 save percentage in winning the Cup and the Conn in 2012. That was a god-like run for a goaltender. He’s basically the Bryan Singer of hockey, directing “The Usual Suspects” right out of the gate and then never getting another masterpiece. With due respect to “Superman Returns”.

He's never going to be worth $58 million over 10 years, but that's more on Dean Lombardi than it is Quick. 

As Chris Boyle notes in the Shot Quality Project, expecting Quick to outplay Lundqvist this series is a stretch, too:

View photo

.
Sportsnet

Sportsnet

As a wise man once said of Lundqvist, “He’s one of the best in the world, and has been for quite a while now…”

But despite Lundqvist stopping 40 shots, Quick was the better goalie in Game 1. It’s something not often said about Quick in this postseason, but the Finals are, as we said, a clean slate.

The Connecticut kid that grew up a Mike Richter fan has a chance to take the Stanley Cup away from the Rangers 20 years after Richter handed it to them.

Game 1 was the first step. 

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
View Comments (73)