Cal Petersen heating up is exactly what LA Kings need
Since the turn of the calendar year, Cal Petersen has been one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League. The LA Kings have generally gone with a goalie rotation throughout the year but leaned on future Hall-of-Famer Jonathan Quick early in the season.
Since January 1, though, Petersen has the third-best goals-against average (2.23).
The Kings showed a lot of confidence in the 27-year-old, giving him back-to-back starts for the first time this season and the fifth time in his NHL career. Petersen stopped all 19 shots he faced in the team’s 3-0 win in Buffalo on Sunday and stopped 30-of-32 shots in Monday’s thrilling 3-2 overtime win in Boston.
“For me, I don’t really feel like anything has drastically changed from the beginning of the year, just getting some better results, I’m playing a few more games and I’m more confident,” Petersen said after Monday’s game.
Since January 1, Cal Petersen has the third-best GAA (2.23) in the NHL. That's exactly what the Kings need for the playoff push and the team's long-term outlook in net. #GoKingsGo
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) March 8, 2022
The Waterloo, Iowa native played in 35 games, including 32 starts, in what was a breakout campaign for him last season. He finished with an impressive .911 SV% and 2.89 GAA. The Kings rewarded Petersen with a three-contract extension worth $15 million ($5 million AAV) before the start of training camp.
Petersen got off to a rough start this season, posting a .893 SV% and 3.09 GAA through the first three months of the season while missing time in COVID protocol. He’s bounced back in a big way in the second half of the season, which has coincided with the LA Kings’ surge to second place in the Pacific Division. He’s won 11 of his last 14 starts with notable wins at home against the Red Wings, Rangers, Islanders, and road wins in Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Buffalo, and Boston.
And with the most recent win against the Bruins, the Kings and Petersen are proving that they can compete with any team in the league.
“I think for us to put in an effort like that, where we got blown out, wasn’t acceptable for us and we came in with something to prove, to show that we can play with the big boys,” Petersen said. “We want to be one of those top teams at the end of the year, it’s huge for our confidence, but we were looking for some revenge.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Petersen gets more of the lion’s share of starts between the pipes down the stretch as the LA Kings push for their first playoff berth since the 2017-18 season. But his resurgence since the turn of the calendar year is a positive sign of what figures to be Cal Petersen’s net for the foreseeable future.