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Quick picked as best in deep group of goalies

Friday, 05.31.2013 / 10:35 PM / Stanley Cup Playoffs

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Quick picked as best in deep group of goalies
Though Jonathan Quick's brilliance is undeniable, seven of the eight goaltenders who started for his team in the conference semifinals received at least one point in NHL.com balloting for best in the playoffs so far.

There's no doubt Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings has been the best goaltender through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of other talented netminders who've played well.

Quick was a unanimous choice in a vote by a panel of nine NHL.com writers as the best goalie at the halfway point of the postseason. And why not -- he leads the League in goals-against average (1.50), save percentage (.948) and shutouts (3). If anything, Quick has been even better than he was last spring, when he led the Kings to their first Stanley Cup and earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Though Quick's brilliance is undeniable, seven of the eight goaltenders who started for his team in the conference semifinals received at least one point in our balloting.

Each panelist was asked to name three players for the recognition in order of preference. A first-place vote was worth three points, a second-place vote was worth two, and a third-place vote received one.

Quick and the Kings will be facing runner-up Corey Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Final. Crawford is second in GAA (1.70), third in save percentage (.938), and has a shutout. He limited the Detroit Red Wings to five goals in the final three games of the Western Conference Semifinals, helping the Blackhawks rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.

"Corey has been great, really consistent efforts every night," Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said Friday. "That's what we've seen all year long for us, having our team confident, knowing that he's going to be there. It's almost something we don't think about anymore."

The Pittsburgh Penguins might not be in the Eastern Conference Final without the play of Tomas Vokoun, who stepped in after starter Marc-Andre Fleury struggled against the New York Islanders in the first round. Vokoun led the Penguins to a six-game victory against the Islanders and followed that with another solid performance when the Penguins blitzed the Ottawa Senators in five games.

"Without having a Tomas Vokoun to go to in Game 5 of the Islanders series, I’m not sure what happens," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said. "I'm not sure we don’t win, but I’m not sure we do."

Vokoun is 6-1 in seven starts; he's third in GAA (1.85) and second in save percentage (.941).

"It's somewhat surprising to some people that he’s doing well for himself, but he's been one of the better goaltenders in the National Hockey League," Shero said. "He just happened to be playing in Nashville and Florida for a long time, not in the media spotlight. But everybody respects what Tomas Vokoun has done over the last seven, eight years in the League."

Others receiving votes: Antti Niemi, San Jose, 5; Tuukka Rask, Boston, 5; Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 3; Jimmy Howard, Detroit, 1

Quote of the Day

I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he gets his body parallel with the player and pulls it through his legs like that. I know he's tried it a couple times in practice and it's never worked, so how he does it in a game, it's incredible.

— Capitals defenseman Mike Green on teammate Alex Ovechkin's highlight-reel goal against the Devils on Saturday