SUN Hockey Pool

Quick pulls a fast one

DEREK VAN DIEST, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 4:54 AM ET

Had it not been for Jonathan Quick, the Los Angeles Kings would probably not have been in a position to pull out a victory last night against the Edmonton Oilers.

And Sean O'Donnell's goal would have probably just been a footnote in the contest as his first in 158 games.

Yet due to the play of the Kings goalie, O'Donnell's floater from the blue-line late in the third period proved to be the game winner as the Kings pulled out a 3-2 win at Rexall Place.

"Quickie has been unbelievable in our last 20 games or so," said O'Donnell. "I know there were probably a couple of plays that he'd like to have back through the first 15 games, but he's been our MVP, he's been our guy.

"The team has so much confidence in him and when you know he's going to make that first save, it just elevates the whole team."

Quick turned aside 27 shots in the contest to register his league-leading 20th win of the season and eighth in his last 10 games. Only New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur has as many victories as the Kings sophomore goaltender.

"Our goaltender has been good for us in the last half-a-dozen games," said Kings head coach Terry Murray.

"He's the reason why, in probably the last four or five games, we've been able to get some points. It was a very special effort here tonight."

Quick was the Kings' third pick -- 72nd overall -- in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

The 23-year-old native of Milford, Connecticut, split his time between the Kings and their AHL affiliate the Manchester Monarchs last season.

It was Quick's starting job to lose heading into Kings training camp this year after going 21-18-2 last season with a 2.48 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

His play so far this season has him in contention for a spot to the U.S. Olympic roster.

"I felt good out there, but I got a lot of help," Quick said. "They hit a couple of post and I had (Matt) Greene clear out one from behind me that slipped through. So I had some help, and aside from that, our guys did a great job in front of me, blocking shots and clearing out rebounds. It was a good win."

Quick had to be especially sharp early as the Oilers carried the play through the first two periods, but still found themselves down a goal heading into the third.

Sheldon Souray was able to blow a shot past him in the second off Ryan Potulny's faceoff win. However, Quick stopped Dustin Penner on a breakaway after a gift from Greene, then denied Gilbert Brule from in tight, pinning the puck with his skate on the goalpost.

In the third he got some help from the post again as Souray stepped into another shot from the point. Potulny eventually tied the game, but after the Kings were able to restore their lead, Quick shut the door.

"He makes some of those big saves pretty regularly for us," said Kings captain Dustin Brown. "Those things aren't reflected in the stats, but when he makes a huge save for us like that it usually changes momentum in a game."

Quick is a big reason for the Kings' turnaround this season. The win helped Los Angles regain top spot in the Western Conference.

"I've been doing the same things I had been doing since the start of the season," said Quick. "I just want to make sure I'm doing all the little things right and I'm just bearing down and trying to work hard for the team."

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA\


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