With his strong play of late, has Jonathan Quick claimed the crease for the rest of the season and into the playoffs?
One goaltender is a veteran who has twice won the ultimate prize; a legend in the LA Kings‘ franchise. The other is a young, promising goaltender who has shown signs of being a number one goaltender.
The LA Kings goaltending tandem of Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen has been good all year. Yes, they have struggled at times, allowing the other to take the opportunity. For certain parts of the year, Quick has been his old self, and for others, Petersen has put together a string of really good games.
The question is who do you put between the pipes for the playoffs? Alternating them will not give the Kings the consistency the team needs at the most critical time of the year. Both Quick and Petersen have made their points at different times that they should be the ones to carry the Kings throughout the playoffs.
Some may say Jonathan Quick should start and carry the team based on his playoff experience and Stanley Cup wins. The Connecticut native has been solid this season, even with some rough stretches at times. Petersen has also been good and some say that the time is now for him to shine. There are arguments to be made on both sides but let us look at the season stats this season against their likely first-round opponent, the Edmonton Oilers.
Quick, particularly of late, has looked like the Quick of old. Keeping the team in the game is what he does best, even at the points where the Kings were in the middle of a roster shakeup. In 42 games played this season Quick has a 2.63 goals-against average, a .909 save percentage, and a record of 20-13-9 and two shutouts.
Even at 36 years old, Quick has shown no signs of slowing down. The two-time Stanley Cup champion has put this team on his back of late, helping the LA Kings pick up crucial points down the stretch. In his last 10 games, he has given up 22 goals, has a .915 save percentage, and a 5-3 record. Against Edmonton, Quick is 1-1-1 with seven goals against, 2.27 goals-against average, and a .921 save percentage.
Cal Petersen has struggled this season to a point, however, at one point it looked as if he had a grip on being the starter. He is still young and has a great career ahead of him. Petersen has shown poise and confidence when he is in the net, exactly what a young goaltender should show. The 27-year-old may not be ready for a starter role yet, however, he has taken tremendous strides to show he can take that role in the near future.
This season Petersen has played 36 games, with a 2.90 GAA, .895 save %, and a 20-14-1 record with three shutouts. In his last 10 games he has struggled, going 4-6 with a .875 save %. Against the Oilers this season he is 0-1 with a GAA of 3.00 and a .889 save %.
Looking at the stats one might think Quick is, without question, the starter for the playoffs. Let us keep one thing in mind: according to most, Petersen was the starter before the season started.
For me, Quick is the starter for the first round. at least for now. Coach Todd McLellan knows what he has with Quick and would not hesitate to start him in the entire first round. On the other hand, Coach McLellan will not hesitate to pull Quick if he struggles at any point for a goaltender who would be more than willing to be between the pipes and take over that role.
Quick has that playoff experience and knows what it takes to win. With the defense still somewhat of a mystery, Quick may need to stand on his head in the playoffs, something he is familiar with.