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Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick returned to the team’s lineup Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks after a long absence because of a groin injury.
Quick went down with the issue in Los Angeles’ 2016-17 season opener, and then had a non-surgical procedure in mid-October. The Kings initially said the timetable was about three months and then pushed a potential return back until mid-February. Most recently Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi said Quick could be back in early March.
The former Conn Smythe winner had been practicing with the team since early February.
“Very lucky I had good doctors, trainers,” Quick said then according to LA Kings Insider. “Everybody kind of put together a good program, so you look at it now and it’s three and a half, four months later, but it’s like every two weeks you have something that you’re hoping you’re able to do and you just stick to the program and you’re just glad you can get on the ice and break a sweat, feel some pucks.”
Quick’s return should give the Kings a boost. Los Angeles entered Saturday’s action with 62 points – five behind the Nashville Predators for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Peter Budaj, who started the season in the AHL, has seen a majority of the action in net for Los Angeles, starting 51 games and going 27-20-3 with a 2.12 goal-against average and .917 save percentage. In order to make room for Quick, the team sent Jeff Zatkoff, who was originally supposed to be the team’s backup, to the minors.
Last season, Quick held a 2.22 goal-against average and .918 save percentage in 68 games, while being voted a Vezina Trophy finalist.
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