In the final minute of Saturday's win vs. Winnipeg, Jonathan Quick made a save that already has fans and experts across the continent buzzing. Down 4-2 late, the Jets had an extra attacker, trying desperately to pull to within a goal, but the Kings netminder had other ideas.
Blake Wheeler, whose 26th goal of the campaign had cut Winnipeg's deficit in half earlier in the period, fired a shot on net against Jonathan Quick who was sprawled out on his stomach. But Quick had enough in him to elevate his right leg to keep the puck out. The Kings eventually cleared and that was the end of the Jets' pressure, and ultimately the game.
As unbelievable as Quick's save seemed, it wasn't so hard to believe. I am, by no means, downplaying the impact of his save but for as long as the Los Angeles Kings have had No. 32 in their goal, I have never ceased to be amazed at what Jonathan Quick has to offer in terms of his in-the-crease repertoire. For someone who has grown up supporting the Kings, I can honestly admit that I cringed most times when the opposing team found themselves with a glorious scoring opportunity, whether on a breakaway, wide-open at the side of the net or on a power play. Since Jonathan Quick has come into his own as bona fide goaltender, that concern withered away. Considering the plethora of netminders that have been in and out of the Kings' locker room over the last 15 years, that speaks wonders. Believe me.
As phenomenal as Quick's save was on Saturday night, it only underlines just how similar Jonathan Quick to the rest of his team: someone who saves their very best for the most important time of the year.
From October to January, we can say what we will about the lack of performance from Brown, Williams, Martinez and even Quick, although this season wasn't entirely fair given the latter's injury. Nevertheless, I have heard a great deal of criticism in seasons past about Quick's mediocrity early in the season. How "Quick" and "mediocrity" fit in the same sentence is beyond me but I digress.
This wasn't a save made by some fresh, young call-up, this was a stop made by a proven netminder who almost single-handedly got his team into the playoffs one year, set a precedent in said playoffs before helping to win the Stanley Cup and, for himself, the Conn Smythe. This was a save by a netminder who, last week, became the winningest goaltender in Los Angeles Kings history and who currently sits three shutouts shy of being the franchise leader in said category. Jonathan Quick isn't just some player with a cute name. At 28, he has already accomplished what Hall-of-Famers like Tony Esposito, Eddie Giacomin and even futures inductees like Curtis Joseph haven't.
Jonathan Quick is simply doing what he has done since entering the league: stepping up his game when it matters most.
I admit that I've joked about the recent earthquakes in Los Angeles being nothing more than the Kings letting the entire metropolis know that they are ready to rumble. But the Los Angeles Kings are indeed ready to rumble with the Stanley Cup Playoffs just weeks away - and you can be sure that Jonathan Quick, with a groin injury and back surgery behind me, is playing as if he has never missed a beat.
That leg save may have looked impossible. But for Jonathan Quick, that's just another day at the office.