LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The only thing better than breaking someone’s franchise record is being able to talk about it with that player right after it happened.
That’s what Jonathan Quick experienced Saturday when former Los Angeles goalie Rogie Vachon walked into the Kings’ dressing room to personally congratulate him.
Quick earned his 172nd career victory—all in a Kings uniform—by making 24 saves and beating the Florida Panthers 4-0 for his fifth shutout of an injury-hampered season.
“Rogie’s given me a lot of support over the years and we’ve hung out a bit, so it’s great to see him here and continuing to show his support,” Quick said. “We’ve done a few interviews together in the past, and he’s been to many games. So it’s great to have him around from time to time and hear him tell old stories.”
Dustin Brown, Trevor Lewis, Mike Richards and Alec Martinez scored for the Kings, who completed their five-game homestand with back-to-back wins after three straight one-goal defeats.
Quick is in the second season of a $58 million, 10-year contract extension he signed in June 2012—only 17 days after leading the Kings to their first Stanley Cup title and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
“I’ve been very fortunate up to this point in my career,” he said with the milestone puck sitting next to him on the opposite side from Vachon. “Obviously, this is very special. But it’s a short-lived enjoyment because we fly to Philly this afternoon and play a game in two days, so your focus moves on pretty quickly to that next game. It’s a situation where you’re always caught up in the moment.”
Quick has won 47 games that were decided in overtime or a shootout—a luxury not afforded to Vachon, who played in 66 games for the Kings that ended in ties. Vachon is one of five players to have his uniform number retired by the club along with Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor, Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille.
“It’s wonderful,” said Vachon, who finished his 16-year career with 355 wins and was fifth on the all-time list when he retired after the 1981-82 season. “I wish I would have set the bar a little higher for him. Unfortunately, I only played like 6 1/2 years here, and he’s going to play maybe 15-20 years here the way he’s going. But that’s fine. It’s well-deserved, and he’s going to set some incredible records before his career is over that no other goalies coming into the league will touch.”
The toughest save Quick had to make came at 3:04 of the second period during a Florida power play. He dove to his left at the last instant to glove a short backhander by Tomas Fleischmann, who went for the short side after defenceman Dmitry Kulikov’s 60-foot slap shot took a hard carom off the end boards.
“I’ve always liked his ability to move from one side to the other. He’s absolutely phenomenal,” Vachon said. “The save that he made today in the second period, coming from one side and going to the other like that, you rarely see that in the league.”
The shutout was the 30th of Quick’s career, two shy of Vachon’s franchise mark.
“He was on top of his game tonight. You could see that he was feeling it,” said three-time All-Star goalie Roberto Luongo, who finished with 25 saves for Florida. “I don’t know if we were ever going to get a puck by him. It was one of those nights where he sees everything. And even the ones that he doesn’t see, he finds a way to make the save.”
The Kings recorded their 11th shutout, tying the franchise record set two seasons ago. The total includes three each by Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens, who blanked the Panthers on Oct. 13 at Sunrise, Fla.
Los Angeles scored on three of its first 13 shots against Luongo, making his seventh start since returning to Florida in a trade with Vancouver.
The Panthers, who have lost nine of their last 10 against Los Angeles, played their first game at Staples Center since Dec. 1, 2011. They have dropped five straight in the building since winning 5-2 on Nov. 27, 2002.
NOTES: Quick missed 24 games because of a groin injury, returning to action on Jan. 4. … Brown sustained an upper-body injury in the second period. … The Kings embark on a three-game trip through Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh, trying to extend their five-game road winning streak.