Jonathan Quick is making quick work of the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup final.
The votes for the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the playoffs won't be cast until the third period of a deciding game, but it would be difficult for anybody to vote against the Los Angeles Kings goalie.
The Devils have forced Quick, who has a 0.59 GAA in the final, to make big stops. Sure, Los Angeles has gotten timely scoring, but Quick is the reason they’re on the verge of their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
"He's in the heads of the New Jersey Devils," said CBC analyst Glenn Healy during Game 3 Monday night.
Quick, who recorded his third shutout of the playoffs with 22 saves in the 4-0 win, should also be in the thoughts and minds of every Conn Smythe voter. The fans are getting ready for a parade in Los Angeles and he’s the No. 1 reason why.
OFF THE GLASS
Somewhere, Philadelphia general manager Paul Holmgren has to be wondering why Jeff Carter and Mike Richards couldn’t play this way while they were members of the Flyers. The fact they’re going to be sized up for Cup rings with the Kings is difficult to fathom ... Returning to Los Angeles to drop the puck between New Jersey's Zach Parise and L.A.'s Dustin Brown in a ceremonial faceoff Monday, Wayne Gretzky didn't give the fans a chance to give him a hero's welcome. He went straight to centre ice, waved to the crowd and threw the puck down. Gretzky wants the focus on what's happening on the ice. Unfortunately, the P.A. announcer said Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Kings in 1998 when he was actually dealt in 1988.
THE MORNING SKATE
Not only has Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk's performance been underwhelming in his first Stanley Cup final, Travis Zajac and Parise haven't been great either. Kovalchuk had two shots in 21:39 of ice time Monday. He has played the point on the power play and hasn’t gotten the puck through ... If you allow the Kings three swipes at a puck, eventually they're going to score. Where were the Devils defencemen on the opening goal by Kings defenceman Alec Martinez? Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was upset because he felt he had covered the puck and CBC's Kelly Hrudey agreed with him. Brodeur should have also been upset with the fact the Kings were allowed to slash away at the puck with nobody from Devils there to put up a fight.
AROUND THE BOARDS
You have to wonder if the Devils have thrown in the towel. Perhaps they’ve decided the task of trying to stop the Kings on this memorable ride to is just too difficult and maybe it’s time to pack up for a nice, quiet summer. It sure looked that way in Monday's loss ... Didn’t know people still considered former Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart a star ... How do both referees miss the trip on Quick in the second? These are supposed to be two of the league's best officials ... Once the crying is over, all the Devils need to do is look at the power play to figure out why they’re going home empty-handed. The Devils hadn’t scored a power-play goal in six attempts in this series going into Game 3 and then blew a 5-on-3 in the first. Didn’t help that Patrik Elias missed a wide open net.
THIS 'N' THAT
Not sure why the Kings elected to play Simon Gagne for the first time since Dec. 26. Hard to believe a guy who has been out for five months can catch up to the pace of the final. Surprised the Kings changed a winning lineup. Gagne hasn’t scored a goal since Nov. 17. He only played 6:39 Monday and didn’t hurt the team. Perhaps, L.A. officials just wanted to make sure he qualified to get his name on the Cup, which would be a classy move ... Facing a 3-0 hole, New Jersey’s David Clarkson declared to the media: “We’re not done yet ... If you don’t believe, you’re done.” Pretty sure the media had hard time taking him seriously.
RUMOURS DU JOUR
The signing of Tomas Vokoun to a two-year, $4 million deal with Pittsburgh caught people off guard, but the Penguins weren't the only team who had a chance to sign the goalie. Vokoun had permission for two weeks to shop himself around. It's believed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets all kicked tires. Not sure why the Leafs wouldn't take a chance but they passed and weren't willing to pony up ... Speaking of Toronto, Leafs GM Brian Burke should try to convince Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas to end his self-imposed break. Thomas confirmed on his Facebook page Sunday he doesn't intend to play next year. The belief in NHL circles is a trade request will land on GM Peter Chiarelli's desk sometime in mid-July. Thomas' teammates in Beantown must be thrilled ... Once the playoffs are over, expect Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini and Columbus GM Scott Howson to get plenty of calls for the No. 1 and No. 2 picks.