The championship flurry of the King’s Jonathan Quick.
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If you hadn’t heard the NHL’s hottest name before this playoffs, you certainly should be familiar with it by now after the outstanding play of the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, who has all but secured the franchise’s first Stanley Cup in its 45 year history.
The name might be new to few–mostly newbies to the NHL who have been sucked into the fast-paced, hard-hitting, and insane goaltending duel that has defined this series—but his style is something many hockey aficionados have seen before.
Quick, like many of the top goaltenders in the game today, is what the announcers like to overgeneralize as a “butterfly goaltender.” But, consider for a moment that this technique was invented by Glenn “Mr. Goalie” Hall back in the ‘50s, so imagine the various adaptations to this style that have materialized since his reign into the ‘70s—particularly ones that are immune to flying Bruins wearing the number 4.
Quick has tailored his unique style of butterfly in a way that runs counter to popular goaltending trends. In what some goaltending purists may deem as “unorthodox,” Quick’s confidence in his ability to play aggressively and rely on reflexes, grounded firmly in a butterfly base, resembles that of the netminder standing roughly 180 feet directly in front of him.
The Devils’ 40-year-old phenom, Martin Brodeur, is the pepper to Quick’s salt. The overplayed media angle on the age difference between the future Hall Of Famer and the young up-and-comer doesn’t really do much justice to explain how two goalies with fairly similar styles are in such different current circumstances.
Even though L.A. leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs Finals 3-0, the first two over-time games were each one stolen chance away from New Jersey heading to Hollywood with a two game lead. Even game 3 was heart-stoppingly close through the first two periods, and despite a deceivingly unbalanced 4-0 score, it was much closer in terms of scoring chances.
On the first two goals the Kings got past Devils netminder, it could be said that Brodeur didn’t really even have a chance. He can’t be expected to stop a player standing unattended, swiping at the puck for the 4th time before finally netting it. The second goal was even less his fault.
A textbook scoring triangle by the Kings entering the zone ended in a tic-tac-toe passing highlight reel that beat Brodeur off the far post on Dustin Brown’s perfect lead pass to the hot-handed Anze Kopitar streaking past the Devils defender.
But even though Brodeur “didn’t have a chance,” the same could be said for Quick on many accounts, but somehow he keeps coming up with the saves. When Ryan Carter found himself alone, off the post with the puck on his stick and Quick looking in the opposite direction for the puck, his gimme goal was inexplicably denied by Quick’s blocker.
In that moment, two things became crystal clear: One, the Kings are taking the cup, and two, Jonathan Quick isn’t human.
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