CALGARY – Jonathan Quick set a club record on Wednesday and elevated the Los Angeles Kings into a playoff position at the same time.
Quick stopped all 19 shots he faced to backstop the Kings to a 3-0 win over the Calgary Flames. In the process he recorded his ninth shutout of the 2011-12 campaign to break the previous club record of eight that he shared with Rogatien Vachon, who set the previous standard in the 1976-77 season.
“That was great,”said Quick in regards to setting the record.“I think nothing but the best about Rogie and what he’s done for this organization. I feel like it was kind of a–not to say it in a bad way–but like a matter of time just because of the way the game’s going, how defensive minded it is and how goals are so hard to come by nowadays.”
Willie Mitchell, Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for the Kings (38-27-12), who snapped a two-game losing streak and moved into a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with the San Jose Sharks (39-28-10), who lost 3-1 at Anaheim.
“At the end of the day though is it’s two points,”Quick said.“That’s all that matters right now. It’s a big road win for us.”
Anze Kopitar had two assists for the Kings, who blanked their opponents for the 10th time this season to tie a club record set in 2000-01. The Kings have also been shut out 10 times this season although they earned a 1-0 shootout win over the St. Louis Blues in one of those games on March 22 at home.
After the victory, Williams praised Quick for his shut-out performance.
“He’s our MVP this year by far,”Williams said.“Even though we were up 1-0 (after the first), they got a couple of chances on the power play and he shut them down. He’s been stellar for us all year and in the biggest game of the year we needed him.”
Quick also drew rave reviews for his play from Calgary forward Michael Cammalleri.
“He’s had a tremendous season,”Cammalleri said.“Obviously I played in L.A. and I know some guys that are there … and that’s all they can do is rave about him. As a player I don’t like to give goalies very much respect. I feel like it’s the kiss of death, but hats off to him for the season he’s had. He’s done a fantastic job.”
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 27-of-30 shots he faced in the Calgary net.
The Flames (35-28-15) have gone 1-3-3 in their past seven games and are three points behind the Kings for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with four games remaining.
“I just thought our decision making was a step slow tonight and theirs was probably half a step quick,”Cammalleri said.“It’s not good. The result was them executing both ways and us making poor decisions and allowing them to execute and not forcing them to defend us.”
After going 3-for-6 on the power play during their 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars at home on Monday, the Flames failed to score on four chances with the man advantage against the Kings.
“It’s a credit to the way the guys played in front of me,”Quick said.“They were solid all night long as far as defensively goes. We did a great job on the (penalty kill). We weathered a few storms on the PK there.”
On the first shift of the game, the Kings hemmed the Flames into their own zone, but Kiprusoff turned aside shots by Rob Scuderi, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty.
The Kings kept pressing through and were rewarded at 5:03 of the opening frame when Mitchell did a great job to keep the puck in at the point before blasting a shot through traffic that snuck through Kiprusoff’s legs.
Later in the first period with the Flames killing a penalty to Scott Hannan for interference, Kiprusoff made a great glove grab to stop a blistering slapshot off the stick of Drew Doughty.
At the other end of the ice, Quick made a pad save to deny a scoring opportunity by Alex Tanguay before the L.A. netminder also made a shoulder save to turn aside a shot from the slot by Jay Bouwmeester.
Brown put the Kings up 2-0 at 4:22 of the second period when he converted a feed from Kopitar to finish off a nice give-and-go play.
The Kings played a stifling defensive system in the third period and held the Flames to just four shots. Quick’s only real test came at the mid-way mark of the final period when he stood his ground to stop a shot from the slot off the stick of Blake Comeau.
“They played well and kept us in our end,”said Calgary forward Lee Stempniak.“We didn’t really have an answer on how to break their pressure and play in their end a little more and that was the difference in the game.”
Williams then scored an empty-net goal to seal the victory.
Notes: L.A. and Calgary split the season series as the Kings won twice at the Saddledome, while the Flames won both times they played at the Staples Center. … The Kings are 26-0-3 this season and 84-0-6 in their past 91 games when leading after the second period. … Since Darryl Sutter took over as L.A.’s head coach, the Kings have compiled a 23-13-8 record. … Before the game, Calgary defenceman Mark Giordano was honoured as one of this year’s recipients of the J.R. McCaig Award. Long-time Flames staff member Art Hernandez also received the award, which is named after former owner J.R. Bud McCaig.