Jonathan Quick's Return Marks End to Kings Skid
There was Jonathan Quick coming in on his white horse back from a groin injury to save the Kings from themselves. The official announcement he was off the injured reserve list came 35 minutes before the puck dropped even though the decision to start him came after the loss in St. Louis on Thursday. When he was announced as the starting goaltender, the sold out crowd of 18,118 lost their minds.
Having lost their last five games, the Kings needed a win against the Vancouver Canucks. Badly. They did not want to be the first team since the Marc Crawford-coached 2007-08 squad (a.k.a. the most recent dark age of Kings hockey) to lose six in a row.
While Quick made 27 saves on 28 shots in his return, it was the three third-period goals the Kings scored that sealed the much needed 3-1 victory.
"The team played great in front of me," Quick noted, although there were a couple of moments he had to do the splits proving to everyone in attendance that his groin was perfectly fine.
The problem for the Kings in this game wasn't getting the puck to Roberto Luongo — they had 49 shots on goal. For the first two periods, most of the shots hit Luongo's gut making life easy for him.
It wasn't until the third period when the Kings finally got some misdirection in front of Luongo, like Dustin Brown's game-tying goal.
Later, Dwight King outworked the Vancouver defense to win the puck and pass to Jeff Carter whose scalding wrist shot paralyzed Luongo.
Carter also cemented the game with an empty-netter in the final 10 seconds.
After playing well in front of Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens, the bottom fell out from under the Kings the last five games. Each losses, things finally came to a head in their last game in St. Louis where they lost without a fight 5-0.
After injuring his groin early in the game in Buffalo on Nov. 12, Quick missed the next 24 games. Going 14-7-3 in Quick's absence isn't a sin, however the recent five-game skid is hard to weather in a tough tight Western Conference.
The win saw the Kings returning to form. Though not the most offensively skilled team, their fight seemed to return as evidenced by Kings' work on Carter's first goal.