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L.A.'s Quick has opponents shooting blanks

by John Kreiser
Jonathan Quick was supposed to be a placeholder until 2006 first-rounder Jonathan Bernier was ready to take the No. 1 goaltending job in Los Angeles. Instead, the 2005 third-rounder has taken the starting job and won't give it back.

Quick completed the best week by a goaltender in the history of the Kings' franchise on Saturday when he made 28 saves in a 1-0 victory against the Dallas Stars. It was his third consecutive shutout, a first for an L.A. goaltender and the first time it's been done by any NHL goaltender since Columbus' Steve Mason three years ago.

For the season, Quick is off to a 4-0-1 start with a goals-against average of 0.97 and a .967 save percentage. That includes stopping all 83 shots he faced last week.

Jonathan Quick
Goalie - LAK
RECORD: 5-0-1
GAA: 0.81 | SVP: 0.972
Five up -- Five players who are playing well:

Jason Spezza -- Ottawa's No. 1 center is on a tear. He had a goal in each of the Senators' three games last week and added four assists for a seven-point week that gives him 11 points in Ottawa's first eight games.

Kari Lehtonen -- Like the Kings, the Dallas Stars are riding a hot goaltender to a fast start. Lehtonen improved to 6-0-0 with a 35-save performance in Anaheim on Friday and has stopped 35 or more shots in five of his victories. The Stars have lost the two games he hasn't started.

Nikolai Khabibulin -- The "Bulin Wall" isn't showing any chinks so far this season. He went 1-0-1 last week, including a 2-0 victory against the Rangers in Edmonton on Saturday, and is 2-0-2 while allowing just three goals in his four games.

Tomas Vokoun -- Why is Washington off to a franchise-record 7-0-0 start? One big reason is the play of Vokoun, who improved to 6-0-0 with a 31-save performance against Detroit on Saturday. He allowed three goals in winning all three starts last week.

Daniel Sedin
-- Last season's Art Ross Trophy winner is off to a good start with 12 points in Vancouver's first eight games. That includes seven in the last four and goals in back-to-back wins against Nashville and Minnesota.

Five down -- Five players who are struggling:

Steve Mason -- Nothing has gone right for the Columbus Blue Jackets or their goaltender. The Jackets are 0-7-1 after seeing a 3-2 lead turn into a 4-3 loss at Ottawa on Saturday when the Senators scored twice in the final minute. The Jackets have only a rookie backup, so it's up to Mason to find a way to end the slide.

Brad Boyes -- The former 40-goal scorer hasn't done much to help the Sabres during their hot start. He has just one assist this season and hasn't had a point in Buffalo's last six games.

Dainius Zubrus -- Zubrus is getting plenty of ice time in New Jersey -- he's played at least 14:55 in all six of the Devils' games -- but isn't putting up the numbers that justify it. Zubrus is pointless in six games and is minus-1 on a team that needs more scoring.

Benoit Pouliot -- Boston signed Pouliot after he put up 13 goals and 30 points in a bottom-six role for Montreal last season. He's done nothing for the Bruins so far, going scoreless and minus-2 in seven games.

Josh Bailey -- While 2009 first-rounder John Tavares is piling up goals and points for the Islanders, Bailey, their top pick (No. 9) in 2008, hasn't done much of anything. He's gone without a point and is minus-1 through six games.

Injuries, news and notes -- It's unusual to see big trades within the season's first month, but the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks will begin the week with a new look after a deal on Saturday that sent thirty-something vets Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida for forwards David Booth and Steven Reinprecht.

Guillaume Latendresse
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 5
SOG: 16 | +/-: 3
Out -- Toronto goaltender James Reimer left Saturday's game with a head injury after a first-period collision with Montreal's Brian Gionta. He played the rest of the period but didn't play after that. … Montreal center Scott Gomez is expected to miss a week after leaving Thursday's game with an upper-body injury. … Minnesota's Guillaume Latendresse sat out Saturday with a groin problem, as did defenseman Greg Zanon. … Columbus placed defenseman Radek Martinek on IT after he suffered a concussion on Friday night. Another defenseman, Mark Methot, left the same game with a finger injury and is out indefinitely.  … New Jersey lost forward Jacob Josefson after he suffered a broken right clavicle on Friday and needed surgery the next day. He's expected to miss at least three months. … Ottawa's Peter Regin left Thursday's game with a shoulder injury and didn't play Saturday. … Toronto placed forward Colby Armstrong on IR after he suffered an ankle injury on Wednesday. … St. Louis forward David Backes left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury after being knocked to the ice on a clean hit by Philadelphia's Chris Pronger. … Buffalo forward Tyler Ennis will have his ankle evaluated after he went down with an injury Saturday night.

Returning -- Martin Havlat made his season debut for San Jose on Friday after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. … Oilers forward Sam Gagner returned from an ankle injury Saturday night. … Pittsburgh got a boost on Thursday from the return of defenseman Brooks Orpik (hernia surgery) and forward Dustin Jeffrey (knee surgery). … St. Louis defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo returned Thursday after missing five games with an upper-body injury.

Still out -- Pittsburgh is still without Evgeni Malkin, whose absence due to a knee that's still recovering from offseason surgery is up to five games. He and Sidney Crosby are both taking part in practices. Tyler Kennedy hasn't played in the last four games; he's also suffering from a concussion. … Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome (broken finger) skated on Friday for the first time since late September. He's likely at least a week away from playing. … David Perron, sidelined for nearly a year due to a concussion, skated at practice with St. Louis last week, though there's still no date set for his return. … Columbus placed center Jeff Carter on IR with a broken bone in his right foot. … Boston defenseman Adam McQuaid has now missed four games with a concussion.

The week ahead -- The last home opener takes place Thursday night when the New York Rangers host the Toronto Maple Leafs after playing their first seven games on the road -- the longest season-opening trip in franchise history.

Games to watch:

New York Rangers at Winnipeg (Oct. 24) -- The Rangers wrap up a road odyssey that saw them travel all over Europe and out to Western Canada with their first trip to Winnipeg since 1995-96.

Los Angeles at Dallas (Oct. 27) -- The Pacific Division rivals, both off to excellent starts, meet for the second time in less than a week.

Montreal at Boston (Oct. 27) -- The Canadiens come to TD Garden for the first time since their painful OT loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last spring for the start of a home-and-home series.

San Jose at Detroit (Oct. 28) -- The Sharks play the fourth of a six-game road trip in their first meeting with Detroit since Game 7 of the second round of last spring's playoffs.

Washington at Vancouver (Oct. 29) -- Rogers Arena will be even more jammed than usual, if that's possible, for a rare visit from Alex Ovechkin & Co., who are making only their third trip to Vancouver since March 2003.

Tough week ahead:

Anaheim Ducks -- Orange County's team hits the road for four games in six nights, beginning in Chicago on Monday and followed by stops in Minnesota, Nashville and Columbus.

New Jersey Devils -- After playing in Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Devils head West this week for games in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Dallas.

St. Louis Blues -- St. Louis wraps up a stretch in which it will play eight of nine on the road with a three-game, four-night swing through Western Canada, beginning Wednesday in Vancouver.

Easy week ahead:

Buffalo Sabres -- The Sabres, who also started their season in Europe, come back from a four-game swing for their first extended stay at home. They host Tampa Bay, Columbus and Florida.

Calgary Flames -- The Flames get a chance to take a breather and rest up this week, as they continue a homestand with only two games -- visits from Columbus and St. Louis.

Minnesota Wild -- The Wild get a chance to rest up after a busy week that ended in Vancouver on Saturday. They play just two games, both at home -- and Detroit, which comes to the Xcel Energy Center on Saturday, plays San Jose at home on Friday.
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