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ROYAL ROAD REPORT: QUEST FOR .500

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

PHOENIX – The Los Angeles Kings returned to the win column in stunning fashion as they defeated their Pacific Division rivals, the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night by the final score of 4-0.

The win was the Kings’ second in their last three games and first of the season over the Coyotes.

THE QUICK AND THE SCORELESS

Kings’ rookie netminder Jonathan Quick continued his stellar play on Saturday earning his second shutout victory in his last three games as he turned aside 26 shots on the evening.

“He (Quick) made some very big stops,” said Head Coach Terry Murray. “He made a big stop in the second period when the score was still close and they get a breakaway look and he came up big for us. It was a well deserved shutout for him.”

Los Angeles forward John Zeiler, who made a return to the line-up, also gave praise to the first-year goaltender.

“Quick played great, he was seeing all the pucks tonight and the defense played well in front of him, but he did great and hopefully he keeps that going,” said Zeiler.

Along with the strong play in net, the Kings’ defense and penalty killing units were also on top of their game, making the task at hand for Quick, a little easier to handle.

“You just want to give your team a chance to win every night and the team was playing great in front of me, which made it easier,” said rookie goaltender Jonathan Quick. “Now we want to make sure we carry this momentum with us back to L.A. against Columbus.”

So what is Quick’s secret to his early success?

“Just stop the puck, that’s all I have to do right now and with the help from our penalty killing unit, its making it a lot easier on me,” said Quick. “Our defense did a great job clearing lanes so I could see the puck and the ones I couldn’t see they were getting in front of and blocking for me.”

Quick's shutout was the second in Kings history at Phoenix/Winnipeg by a Kings netminder, the last was also Oct. 19, 2006, also by a 4-0 score, when Mathieu Garon shutout the Coyotes.

THE QUEST FOR .500
With the win over Phoenix, the Kings are now, believe it or not, 33-34-11 in the calendar year 2008. The Kings host Columbus on Monday with a chance to finish the year at .500. Below is a breakdown of the Kings month-by-month 2008:

Month
Jan.
Feb.
March
April
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Record
7-5-1
5-6-1
5-6-3
1-2-0
3-5-1
7-4-2
5-6-3

PERFECT ON THE PK
Despite giving the Coyotes nine power play opportunities, including a pair of five-on-three’s, the Los Angeles penalty killing unit was able to hold off the Phoenix attack and help pave the way for the Kings’ win.

“There were a lot of penalties called tonight, both ways and our penalty killing unit did great, while on the other side, our power play was able to put two goals in the net,” said Zeiler.

“PUT THE OTHER TEAM BACK ON THEIR HEELS”

Los Angeles set the tone for Saturday’s game from the first shift and it was their strong, aggressive play in the first 20-minutes of play that helped catapult them to a three goal lead.

“It was a good response to the game we had last night,” said Murray. “We came out ready to play and we’re a good team whenever we have 20 guys playing. We’re not a team that can have just two lines and three defensemen playing, we need everybody and I thought everybody competed hard tonight.”

And most importantly, the effort was repeated in the second and third periods as well.

“Coach has been stressing to get off to a fast start, get the first goal, get the momentum and put the other team back on their heels,” said Los Angeles right wing John Zeiler. “Tonight we were able to do that and then come back and get our composure, do it again in the second and third. It was just a complete game tonight.”

FIRST OF THE YEAR
Tonight’s win may have done as much psychologically for the team as anything else, as it snapped the Kings skid against their division rivals and gave them their first victory in the state of Arizona since March, 20, 2008, exactly nine months ago, which oddly enough, was also by a 4-0 score, with Erik Ersberg shutting the door vs. the Coyotes.

“This is a big win against a team we’ve been fighting against for a playoff spot, so this was a big win for us,” said Quick.

KEEPING IT CLOSE
Separated by only three points, the Kings and Coyotes battle for playoff position will likely continue over the coming months and this latest set of games has only added to the rivalry.

“This was a big weekend with the home-and-home being division games,” said Murray. “It either team wins both of them, it creates some separation, so to get the split, it keeps the game interesting.”

NOTES
Three Kings recorded multi-point performances on Saturday night: Alexander Frolov (2 goals), Jarret Stoll (1 goal, 1 assist), Kyle Quincey (2 assists) and Teddy Purcell (2 assists)…Quick has now shutout the opponent in seven of his last nine periods of play…Los Angeles improves to 14-5-2 on the season when they record the first goal of the game.

REIGN DEFEAT PHOENIX TOO/MONARCHS WIN
Right wing Mike Howe and center Jon Francisco lit the lamp for the Reign and goaltender John Murray blocked 29 of 30 shots he faced as the Reign defeated Phoenix, 2-1...more

Brian Boyle had a goal and two assists and goaltender Jonathan Bernier (8-8-2) earned his eighth win of the season stopping 27-of-29 shots to lead the Monarchs to a 3-2 win over the Pirates...more

Notebook compiled by Chad Lynch and LAKings.com

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