On Saturday, March 22, 2014, the Los Angeles Kings earned a workmanlike 4-0 shutout victory over the Florida Panthers. The win not only helped increase their division lead over the suddenly hot Phoenix Coyotes, but was a milestone victory for the team's superstar goaltender Jonathan Quick.
This was Quick's 172nd victory as a member of the team, which broke the long-standing record of former Kings goaltender Rogie Vachon.
Quick now has 30 career shutouts, which is just two shy of Vachon's club record of 32.
Quick is in playoff mode, as he has a record of 8-2 in his last 10 starts, with a goals against avg of just 1.39 to go along with an impressive .942 save percentage.
Of course with the regular season winding down, the focus of Quick is sharper than ever, and he will not spend too much time dwelling on things such as breaking records, as they have little to do with helping the team reach the ultimate goal of another Stanley Cup championship. Quick was gracious though, and offered this regarding his recently set record: “It takes 20 guys to win a game. Goalies are always kind of nominated to receive most of the celebration as far as wins and shutouts go, but it’s a group effort. It crosses your mind a little bit. It’s the type of situation where you’re caught in the moment. We fly to Philly this afternoon and play a game in two days so your focus moves on pretty quickly around this time of the year when everyone’s making their playoff push. It’s a short lived enjoyment because you have to get ready for the next game.”
In a nutshell, that is the psyche of Jonathan Quick. It's all about focus, focus, focus. He never allows himself to get too high, or too low. It's never about past success, it's always about the next game and the big picture. As he sees it, what is past is done. If one wants to play like a champion, one must think like a champion. Quick certainly does that. He is the best at what he does. A case could definitely be made for Henrik Lundqvist who recently broke the NY Rangers' all-time goaltending records for both wins and shutouts, but when it's all on the line, I would still go with Quick.
Said former Kings goalie Rogie Vachon: "I wish I would've set the bar a little higher. He's playing great and is going to set some incredible records before his career is over. He's going to set some records that I think no other goalie in the league will ever touch. His ability to move from one side to the other, is absolutely phenomenal and I've never said that before. The save he made in the second period coming from one side to the other and grabbing it, is something you'll very rarely see in this league."
For those who never saw Vachon play, he was truly terrific on L.A, Kings teams which had a lot less talent. His glaring omission from the Hockey Hall of fame, is a bit mystifying and something I hope to see corrected at some point in the not- too-distant future. For now, his retired jersey number 30, hanging from the rafters at Staples Center will have to do.
The Kings begin a three game road trip through the Eastern conference on Monday night against the streaking Philadelphia Flyers. They will be in Washington to face the Capitals on Tuesday night, and finish up Thursday in Pittsburgh before returning home to face the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on Saturday night.