Not that there was much doubt in the matter, but with his 33rd career shutout on Thursday night, Jonathan Quick grabbed the franchise record for goose eggs and firmly cemented himself as the best netminder in Los Angeles Kings history.
Is it a short list to be on top of? Sure. Quick passed Rogie Vachon for the shutout record and Kelly Hrudey got the team to its first Stanley Cup final in 1993, but only Quick has won the Cup – and he's done it twice, once as the Conn Smythe playoff MVP.
"It's the athletic component in his game and the flexibility," said Kings goalie coach Bill Ranford. "He makes saves that many guys in the league can't make."
Buffalo played the victim in Quick's latest victory, helping the Kings to a 5-1-1 record so far. That's much better than how they've stumbled out of the gates in the past, even if it didn't affect them in the long-run.
"We're a team that struggles to get into the playoffs and we'd like to change that," Ranford said. "We've seen how important home-ice advantage can be."
The best thing about Quick is he doesn't seem to care where he plays. In last year's march to the title, he won Game 7 matches in Anaheim, Chicago and of course San Jose, closing out a first-round series against the rival Sharks that began with lopsided losses.
"The mental component is huge," Ranford said. "For him to come back from those first two games in San Jose shows how tough he is."
Can the Kings do it again this season? They certainly have all the elements. White-knuckling their way into the post-season has worked in the past, but their fans would probably have no issue with the team giving itself a little more breathing room heading into the playoffs. Assuming Quick stays healthy, that hot start is a good omen for the defending champs.