Kings goalie Jonathan Quick's Game 3 shutout one to remember

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick squirts water on his face during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup...

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick squirts water on his face during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, June 9, 2014. (BRUCE BENNETT/Getty Images/AFP)

Steve Simmons, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:29 PM ET

NEW YORK - Remove the mask from Jonathan Quick and all you might find is another mask.

The stone-cold face of a goaltender killer. Emotionless to the outside world. Hiding behind a mask when he plays and beneath a baseball cap, a playoff beard and a hoodie afterwards.

This should have been a night to smile, a night of elation. His game sang and danced and took the big stage in New York to the greatest of reviews. Goaltenders don’t play much better than Quick played Monday night.

The way he played in 2012 in sprinting to a Conn Smythe Trophy with no second-place finisher of consequence. The way he played to put his Los Angeles Kings, growing stronger and luckier by the moment, to within one win of the Stanley Cup.

This should have been a night of dreams and celebration, and maybe inside that was what was happening, but the kid from an hour and a half away, from the town of Milford in Connecticut, who grew up a Rangers fan, was eight when they won the Cup, idolized Mike Richter, who didn’t go to games here because they were too expensive or too far away, played the part of giant at the shiny new Madison Square Garden.

Before Monday night, he never played at MSG, new or old, never started a game here. But he corrected himself after the game, if only slightly. He took part in a between-periods shootout 16 years ago, when he had played in the world-famous Quebec peewee tournament and his team was rewarded with a between-periods shootout.

He didn’t remember how many goals were scored on him that night. He knew what happened last night. The Rangers scored none.

And this was no ordinary shutout. Quick made a save he couldn’t explain afterwards on Mats Zuccarello in the first period. He made another how-did-he-do-that save in the second period on Derick Brassard. Either play could have or should have scored: One would have given New York the lead. The other would provided momentum on a night the crowd was starving for something to cheer about.

When asked how the Zuccarello play, so close to an empty net, ended without a score, he started with “I don’t know.” Quick isn’t big on long sentences. “My stick, his stick, maybe a defenceman’s stick. I don’t know.”

He wasn’t sure about the other incredible save he made, or was it two more. He just made them, makes them. And for the first time in this now one-sided Stanley Cup Final everything is going the way of Los Angeles.

They are winning the goaltending battle between Quick and Henrik Lundqvist.

They are winning the top flight defenceman battle between Drew Doughty and Ryan McDonagh.

They are getting the better of the bounces and to give indication of how adept the Kings are at shutting down the Rangers when need be, New York pulled its goalie with four minutes to go. For the first three minutes and 57 seconds of that time, the Rangers didn’t manage a shot on goal.

Quick was alone and cooled out by then. He had brought his team to this place, this night, after not necessarily being Quick-like in the first two games and that weren’t quite Kings-like in everything but victories. But on this stage, with the lights brightest, in the game that often defines a best of seven series, he was Conn Smythe like. He won’t win the Conn Smythe - there are better candidates than him at this point - but the fact the Kings have so many candidates, Doughty, Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, is indication of just how deep and talented this soon to be champion is.

But there was Quick after the game, knowing the Kings are up three, the Rangers likely decimated, being asked the obvious question: “You’re now one win away from the Stanley Cup from your second Stanley Cup in three years, can you taste it at this point.”

“Nope,” he said, after a short pause.

Everybody laughed. Everybody except Quick. He doesn’t smile on cue. The five games prior to Game 3 had not been kind to him. He had allowed 19 goals against in that time, but he isn’t facing the Chicago Blackhawks anymore. He’s facing Lundqvist, and while he doesn’t say so his teammates say he takes these matchups personally.

“That was his best game of the playoffs,” said Doughty, saying what Quick wouldn’t share. “He played fantastic for us tonight. He made big saves for us, saves he had no business making...Everything about his game tonight was great. He was a big reason why he won.

“He’s one goalie who can save the goals that no other goalie can stop.”

His teammate said that. He also called him one of his best friends. “He’s happy tonight,” said Doughty. “Believe me, he doesn’t show you guys. But I can tell you, he’s happy.” 


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