PHOENIX (AP) — Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s outstanding start to the season has him one victory away from 100 in his career.
He could be in net looking to build on his first shutout of 2011-12 and trying to lead the Kings to a third straight victory Thursday night against the Pacific Division rival Phoenix Coyotes.
Playing its first game in front of the home crowd after a two-week, two-continent road trip, Los Angeles (3-1-1) defeated St. Louis 5-0 on Tuesday. Simon Gagne led the way with two goals and an assist, while Anze Kopitar, Jarret Stoll and Dustin Brown each added a goal and an assist.
The Kings were playing their first game since defenseman Drew Doughty was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, but Quick helped pick up the slack defensively, finishing with 27 saves.
“It’s just kind of icing on the cake there,” Quick told the Kings’ official website about the shutout. “At the end of the day, it’s two points. That’s all it is. We’ve got to just build off what we did here today and just continue. It’s a long season. We’re going to take it one game at a time and keep going here.”
Quick, who is on the verge of becoming the third goaltender in franchise history to reach 100 wins, is likely brimming with confidence.
He is 3-0-1 and his 1.20 goals-against average is second-best in the NHL. He has started each contest for the Kings except for the second game of a back-to-back between Stockholm and Berlin.
Quick was between the pipes for five of the six games against Phoenix last season. He posted a 4.47 GAA in losing the first three before recording a 2.41 GAA in winning the final two. The Kings have won three straight over the Coyotes and are seeking their first four-game winning streak in the series since Dec. 26, 2002-Nov. 1, 2003.
Quick won’t have to worry about facing an unlikely nemesis from last season.
Lee Stempniak, now with Calgary, had seven of his 19 goals last season against the Kings, beating Quick six times and adding an empty-netter.
Kopitar, who leads the Kings with four goals and nine points, hasn’t enjoyed as much success in this series. He’s gone eight straight games against the Coyotes without a goal, his longest scoring drought against any opponent.
Phoenix (2-2-1) is coming off Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to Chicago after combining for nine goals in winning its previous two games. Taylor Pyatt and Ray Whitney scored for the Coyotes, who were outshot 35-16 by the Blackhawks.
“That wasn’t what I expected out of our group,” coach Dave Tippett said. “Our execution was poor. Some of that was the tempo that Chicago played at and the lack of tempo we played at. That wasn’t the game I was looking for from our guys.”
Jason LaBarbera had 30 saves in his second start of the season, but Mike Smith could get the nod against Los Angeles.
Smith, who is 1-1-1 with a 2.63 GAA in three starts for Phoenix since being signed in the offseason, is 5-1-0 with a 1.51 GAA and one shutout lifetime against the Kings.
Phoenix captain Shane Doan has three goals and a team-high seven points, but he’s been held without a point in seven of his last eight games versus Los Angeles.