LOS ANGELES – It was a game saving save and perhaps a series-changing save, and it also meant much more to the Los Angeles Kings.
Late in the third period with a 2-1 lead to protect, Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell found himself with the puck on his stick and a gaping chance to tie the score and send Game 3 of the Western Conference Final into overtime.
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick somehow got his right leg down and his blocker up to stop the shot. The sellout crowd might still be digesting it and enjoying it on replay. Quick did not have that benefit.
"On the initial shot, I kind of got bumped a little and spun a little off angle, so I wasn't really able to put the rebound where I wanted to, so it ends up on his stick," Quick said. "You're just trying to cover net and get fortunate and it hits your blocker. Obviously, it was a big save at the time. You got to get lucky sometimes. It was good."
Quick didn't get a lot of work. He faced 20 shots, but that was easily his stiffest test in a 3-1 win. Justin Williams said he thanked Quick after the game.
"That was awesome," Williams said. "It was an amazing save that preserved the lead. That's what you need. You're going to need that especially since we didn't put that team away."
It was a good sign for Quick and the Kings to rebound after he allowed four goals in a Game 2 loss. Quick typically deflects attention on himself and he wouldn't go near a question on how important it was to come back with a strong performance.
"Overall in your head, you tell yourself you got to play better in Game 4," he said. "I didn't like the goal I gave up, and there's some things I like to clean up for the next game. I just think from a team standpoint, it's good to win. You're down 2-0, you need a win."
Should the Kings go on to even the series and extend it to six or seven games, Quick's save might be a turning point. Bickell certainly sounded like he had on a loop in his head.
"I knew I had an open net," Bickell said. "But it seems like he makes a handful of those saves in every series. Give it to him – he didn't give up. If we had got that, I don't know we could have maybe carried it to OT and you never know what happens there."
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