One has won a Stanley Cup, a Conn Smythe and, just this season, a Jennings Trophy. The other has won a Vezina but playing on the east coast in the media circus that is Manhattan, Henrik Lundqvist has a significant over Jonathan Quick, even if the west-coast netminder has proven himself exponentially over the last few seasons.
On Tuesday, members of the NHL Network on-air staff discussed the battle in goal for the upcoming Stanley Cup Final and, to the surprise of very few, the consensus went with Henrik Lundqvist who has put up the better numbers.
The numbers certainly do not lie. Lundqvist would be the better of the two netminders in that sense. But why don't we analyze why the Rangers backstop has the better numbers.
In these playoffs, Lundqvist has, for the most part, been incredible. The same can be said for Jonathan Quick.
As for Lundqvist, in getting to where the Rangers are now, he helped beat the Philadelphia Flyers (6th-seed in the East, 94 points), the Pittsburgh Penguins (2nd-seed, 109 points) and the Montreal Canadiens (4th-seed, 100 points). Quick, meanwhile, led the Kings past the San Jose Sharks (4th-seed, 111 points) and I already mentioned the history the Kings made in getting past the Sharks, the Anaheim Ducks (1st-seed, 116 points) and the Chicago Blackhawks (5th-seed, 107 points) in addition to being the defending Stanley Cup champions.
It is also worth mentioning the Kings played one more game than the Rangers thus far this postseason. 21 games to 20 may not seem like a lot but that is 30+ more shots against for Jonathan Quick, making his case as the better goalie only slightly better than his Broadway counterpart. Plus, with all due respect to the aforementioned Flyers, Penguins and Canadiens, none are deemed perennial championship contenders for years to come that the Sharks, Ducks and Blackhawks are.
Plus, Quick had to defend against the likes of Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa - all were on top of their respective games. In the seconf round, Lundqvist was up against a Sidney Crosby who simply wasn't performing the way he should have been.
Speaking of last round, Quick's numbers should have been better. That, I admit. But when you're up against the aforementioned offensive threats of Toews and Kane, Sharp and Hossa and even Keith and Seabrook, putting on a clinic is something even the greatest of all-time goaltenders would have a hard time doing. But CBC's Kelly Hrudey said during the Western Final that even though Quick (and Chicago's Corey Crawford) allowed so many goals per game, they were both resilient enough to make the big save when it mattered most. That must stand for something.
Whether it's the east-coast bias or suffering from a case of the handsomes that makes every woman swoon over him, Henrik Lundqvist has the edge. He has definitely put up better regular-season numbers than Jonathan Quick in recent years but just ask the 2011-12 President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks how much dominating the regular season means in the big picture. In fact, Jonathan Quick could help you out with that answer.
Come Wednesday night, all the talking will be pushed to the side as what really matters will happen on the ice.
He may have a Vezina, the respect of countless fans, pundits and writers everywhere, but what "King" Henrik doesn't have is a Stanley Cup ring - and to get one, he will have to outperform one Jonathan Quick. Not even the greatest of scriptwriters could have come up with a finish this electrifying.
Jonathan Quick vs. Henrik Lundqvist. I know which netminder is better. Do you? If not, don't worry. You'll find out soon enough.