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#LAKings Alexander: A reminder that Jonathan Quick is still a beast (Daily News)

And to think those of us who were paying attention suspected a year ago that Jonathan Quick might be a member of the Seattle Kraken this season, instead of remaining a King and potentially being a playoff hero.
At the height of his career Quick was the premier money goalie in the NHL, and maybe the world. His imprint was all over the Kings’ run as one of the league’s elite teams, and in the two places where Kings’ names are etched into the Stanley Cup, his name should have been engraved in bold print.
Saturday night in Edmonton, in his first Game 7 since 2014, Quick turned back the clock. Against a determined and energized Oilers group, the Kings played rope-a-dope most of the night, unable to put together any sustained pressure in the offensive zone. Quick kept the Kings in the game – making sprawling saves, smothering rebounds, stuffing wraparound attempts, and staring down Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and friends as a full house in Rogers Place howled and screamed.
Vintage Quick wasn’t enough because McDavid, the four-time scoring champion. two-time Hart Trophy winner as Most Valuable Player and a finalist for the honor again this year, earned the “M-V-P” chants from his home fans Saturday night. He set up Cody Ceci for a second-period goal from just inside the right faceoff dot, then scored the clincher with just under four minutes left on a third effort, banging in a rebound after Quick (a) stopped him on a rush and (b) denied him on a subsequent wraparound attempt.
That’s how the Kings’ unexpectedly positive season ended, a 2-0 defeat in which they had all kinds of trouble maintaining possession in the offensive zone, much less applying any sort of sustained pressure on Mike Smith.
And, granted, even though the Kings shocked most of the hockey world by extending this series to a Game 7, it wasn’t an unqualified success for Quick from start to finish. He gave up all six Oilers goals in Game 2 and was pulled for Cal Petersen after giving up the first four in the 8-2 debacle that was Game 3.
The series began to turn with a 4-0 Kings victory in Game 4 at home, Quick’s 10th career playoff shutout. That game, and then Saturday night’s performance, rekindled plenty of memories.
“I don’t even know what to say,” his coach, Todd McLellan, told reporters in Edmonton late Saturday night. “I’ve watched it from four different benches in the National Hockey League, and now I get to watch it from ours. An outstanding effort by him.
“Let’s face it, especially in the second period, we were under siege. I liked our first period. The second they got a step up on us every shift and we were receiving for almost 20 minutes straight. And Quickie played outstanding. He gave us a chance to pull the goaltender at the end. You know, I don’t know what else we can ask of him.”
Quick did not appear in the interview room at Rogers Place. That meant he was unavailable for comment, given that locker rooms remain closed throughout the NHL as COVID-19 precautions remain in effect. But veterans on the Kings beat will tell you that even if the room were open, and the notepads and cameras and microphones surrounded Quick, he’d be as stingy with quips and quotes as he is with scoring chances. That’s just him.
What he may have been saying, wordlessly, is that he’s still got something left at age 36.Related Articles

Quick was a third-round pick in the 2005 draft, also known as the Sidney Crosby draft. He wasn’t supposed to be the Kings’ goalie of the future; that was Jonathan Bernier. But Quick was The Guy by the 2009-10 season, and he was a Stanley Cup champion – and the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP – three seasons later and won another Cup two years after that. He holds franchise playoff records for career victories (49), goals-against average (2.14), save percentage (.921) and shutouts (Game 4 was his 10th).
Petersen, signed as a college free agent out of Notre Dame in July of 2017, is supposed to be the latest successor, and he played more games than Quick in the shortened 2021 season. Then again, Martin Jones and Jack Campbell were presumed successors as well, and they wound up as starting goalies elsewhere because Quick wouldn’t give up the throne.
Quick and his $11.6 million cap hit were in fact left unprotected in last summer’s expansion draft, but Seattle passed. That turned out to be fortunate for the Kings.
“Quickie’s been unreal for us the whole series,” said Philip Danault, whose own veteran leadership has been important. “He’s been battling, giving us a chance every game, and he’s one big reason we went to Game 7.
“He’s still got it, and he’s a big man for us, big leadership off the ice and on the ice and obviously a great model to follow everywhere.”
He didn’t always turn back the clock, but with a 23-13-9 record, a 2.59 GAA and .910 save percentage, there were plenty of nights that he did. Beyond that, Quick, along with the retiring Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, was one of the living, breathing examples of a championship mentality, and particularly ferocious competitiveness, for the team’s younger players to observe.
In a season that was equally about competing and development, that carried outsized importance.


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