Blackhawks’ depth concerns Kings goalie Jonathan Quick
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org May 31, 2013 9:28PM
Updated: July 2, 2013 8:12AM
Jonathan Quick is the king of the hockey world today. The Los Angeles Kings goaltender is the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner on the defending Stanley Cup champions and the hottest goalie in the 2013 playoffs. He leads postseason goaltenders in save percentage (.948) and is second in goals-against average (1.50).
But he’s not invincible. The Blackhawks will be a challenge.
‘‘My concern is with the depth of their forwards,’’ Quick said. ‘‘[Marian] Hossa, [Jonathan] Toews, [Patrick] Kane and [Patrick] Sharp — they’re four guys that can all shoot the puck really well. When they have the puck, you’re trying to read all the scenarios they could go through. We definitely have our work cut out for us.’’
Even if the Blackhawks are the best team the Kings have faced in the playoffs, Quick said his team has been well-prepared to deal with the Hawks’ firepower by victories over the St. Louis Blues (4-2) and San Jose Sharks (4-3).
‘‘Give St. Louis and San Jose credit — both those teams have some guys that are really good offensively and can create,’’ Quick said. ‘‘Obviously, [the Blackhawks] are a highly skilled team. They play really well in the offensive zone. The biggest way we’re going to counter that is being quick in our end. When they dump pucks in, get them out as quickly as we can so we’re spending more time in their zone.’’
In what has become the ‘‘Tournament of Champions,’’ the Kings are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cup titles since Scotty Bowman’s Red Wings in 1997-98. Just to get this far is an accomplishment — the Kings are only the second defending champion in the last 10 years to reach the conference finals.
But they’ve taken a slightly different road this time. Last season they were a No. 8 seed that took 3-0 leads in each series and were a phenomenal 10-1 on the road. This year, they’re a No. 5 seed and are 1-5 on the road.
‘‘We lost three overtime game on the road,’’ Sutter said when asked the difference. ‘‘To score that big goal is the difference.’’