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Quick gives Kings security blanket in goal

Has Los Angeles in position to tie series with Game 4 win at San Jose

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

SAN JOSE -- The Los Angeles Kings' security blanket was all the comfort they needed in a game they desperately needed to win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round series.

"He was our best player, he made big saves at big moments," captain Dustin Brown said of Jonathan Quick, full-time starting goalie and part-time comfort provider. "Guys were playing hard in front of him and blocked a lot of shots, but he has the ability to elevate his game when we need him to in big games.

"I feel like this is just Groundhog Day when we talk about Johnny. It seems like every year we talk about this."

Quick made 29 saves Monday as the Kings found a way back into the best-of-7 series with a 2-1 overtime victory in Game 3 at SAP Center that allowed the Kings to avoid an 0-3 series deficit for the second straight playoff season.

Game 4 is Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET: USA, CBC, TVA Sports, FS-W, CSN-CA).

The Sharks scored on their first shot on goal; center Joe Thornton slung the puck toward the net and it pinballed through traffic before going past Quick.

So how did Quick respond? He stopped San Jose's next 29 shots, several during 10 minutes of power-play time for the Sharks, who had the NHL's third-ranked power play during the regular season.

Video: LAK@SJS, Gm3: Quick denies the Sharks three times

Quick helped the Kings withstand San Jose's early push and fight their way back into the game and the series. Top-line center Anze Kopitar scored the tying goal at 8:10 of the first period and left wing Tanner Pearson won it at 3:47 of overtime.

The Kings have come to expect such things from Quick, who helped them win the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014.

"There's a reason this team has played a lot of playoff games in the past five years; he's a big reason," coach Darryl Sutter said Tuesday.

Quick has been so good at times that sometimes he is taken for granted. He allowed six goals in the first two games, but one came on a 5-on-3, another on a power play and a third occurred one second after another Kings' penalty expired. Still, Quick was among the talking points about where improvement was needed in the first two games.

"He's kind of created his own monster," defenseman Rob Scuderi said of the high expectations Quick faces in the spring. "We know what to expect from him; he's a big-game player.

"It's nice to know that he is back there and giving us a chance."

Video: LAK@SJS, Gm3: Quick splits, robs Ward on doorstep

While Quick provided the opportunity to win Game 3, other members of the Kings' core seized on the opportunity for the first time in this series. The biggest players were their best players in a game defenseman Drew Doughty had called a must-win.

Doughty played a game-high 35:01; that was 5:43 more than any other player on the Kings. He blocked five shots and was credited with four hits. Kopitar scored the game-tying goal, had five shots and five hits, blocked two shots and won 65 percent of his faceoffs.

``I think Kopy, Drew and Jonathan were really good players for us last night," Sutter said. "It's probably why we won."

Brown, a right wing, played 18 minutes, had eight hits and blocked a shot. He also was involved in several scrums at, or after, the whistle, playing the heavy game that has been the hallmark of the recent success for the franchise.

"I thought, for our team, that was probably the first game we had with everyone engaged emotionally, and that is what it takes this time of the year," Brown said. "You can't rely on skill. It really comes down to controlling emotions at this time of year. I thought we had everyone engaged from the very beginning. It goes a long way for our team; how we play is based a lot on our emotion."

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