Though Jonathan Quick
is a Vezina Trophy finalist, few people would have mentioned him in the same breath as Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk
before the playoffs started. But the two now share an accomplishment that no one else has achieved in a six-decade span.
Quick has won 11 of his 12 starts this spring while leading the Los Angeles Kings
within one victory of their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since 1993. The Kings' 2-1 victory Thursday against Phoenix marked the eighth consecutive game in which Quick won without allowing more than two goals. The last goaltender to put together that kind of streak was Sawchuk, who went 8-0 while leading Detroit to a sweep in the 1952 playoffs -- a stretch of brilliance in which he allowed just five goals and posted four shutouts.
Quick hasn't been quite that good -- he allowed 10 goals in the eight wins -- but he's been the best goaltender to take the ice so far this spring. In 12 games, he has 11 wins, a 1.41 goals-against average, a .951 save percentage and two shutouts -- putting him first in all four categories.
In 721 minutes, Quick has allowed just 17 goals on 344 shots. Daymond Langkow
's goal 1:03 into the second period Thursday ended Quick's shutout streak at 102:58 -- and snapped a streak that had seen the Kings go 364:05 without trailing in a game. The last team to go that long without facing a deficit on the scoreboard was the 2002 Detroit Red Wings
, who went 365:41 without trailing.
Start strong, finish strong -- Another sign of the Kings' dominance: Ten of their 11 victories have come in regulation time. Though 21 of the 74 games this spring have gone into overtime, the Kings have played beyond the third period just once -- their Game 5 win in the first round against the Canucks.
One reason the Kings haven't had to work much extra time -- Jarret Stoll
won their lone overtime game just 4:27 into the extra period -- is because they've outscored their opponents 13-5 in the first period in their 12 games. L.A. has been even better at closing -- the Kings have outscored the opposition 13-4 in the third period.
Rolling an 11 -- As good as the Kings have been, they're just the sixth team to start the playoffs by winning 11 of their first 12 games -- and as the last three of the five previous 11-1 teams have found out, roaring through the first three rounds is no guarantee you'll roll to the Stanley Cup.
The 1983 Edmonton Oilers
, 1995 Detroit Red Wings
and 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins
all equaled the Kings' feat of opening the playoffs by going 11-1 -- the Oilers actually went 12-1 after completing a sweep in the conference finals. None of the three won the Cup, however, and only the '08 Penguins avoided a sweep in the Final.
The two 11-1 teams that did go on to win the Cup were the Montreal Canadiens
in 1968 and 1976. But both of those teams only played three rounds; the Habs lost just once in 13 games each year on the way to the Cup.
Missing in action -- The Coyotes weren't a robust offensive team during the regular season or the first two rounds of the playoffs. But they've been as dry as the Mojave Desert in the first three games against Los Angeles, scoring just three times in 180 minutes of action while being outshot 116-70.
One Coyote who completely has been shut down is Ray Whitney
, who led Phoenix with 77 points during the regular season and had six points in the Coyotes' first eight playoff games, including the overtime goal in Game 1 of the conference semifinals. But Whitney has been shut down completely by the Kings, continuing a drought that began in the previous round against Nashville.
Whitney didn't hit the score sheet Thursday, marking the sixth consecutive game in which he's failed to register a point. That's twice as long as his longest regular-season drought -- the 40-year-old didn't go longer than three games without a point while playing all 82 games.