Category number three: goaltending
Current grade: A
Previous grade: B
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Calvin Petersen and Jonathan Quick have been the key to the LA Kings return to the playoff conversation. This may seem like a pretty bold statement given LA goaltending had a record of 6-6 for the month of February. Still, without these two, the team is probably closer to going back into the draft lottery instead of talking playoffs.
Let’s start with Petersen. His record for the month of February was 3-4 with one no-decision (he relieved Quick in a game versus Vegas on February 5th). While a 3-4 record is not remarkable, Petersen had a .931 save percentage for the month while facing an average of 34.25 shots per game! Of Petersen’s four losses, only one was by more than one goal, which was a 3-1 loss versus Anaheim on February 2nd, in which if he didn’t “stand on his head,” the score would have been much worse. Now consider another one of his losses was in the shootout, and yet another one was lost with 0.3 seconds left in overtime. You’ll see why he has earned the trust of the LA Kings coaching staff.
Reports of Jonathan Quick’s demise seem to be greatly exaggerated. After giving up four goals on ten shots in the February 5th game against the Vegas Golden Knights (to his credit, he was under siege right from the start), Quick returned to the form that has made him a franchise icon. He won three of the next four games he started, which included two shutouts. It has become apparent that keeping the goaltending duties in an approximate 60-40 split in Petersen’s favor should keep Quick rested and efficient. It will greatly benefit the team going forward.