Jonathan Quick has been performing amazingly well since he was called up from Manchester when Erik Ersberg got injured and seems to have a permanent spot on the Kings’ roster, since they traded Jason LaBarbera to Vancouver. Tonight’s game against the Flyers led Quick to his first NHL overtime and shootout, where he shut out the Flyers. Of course, it was also helpful that the Kings (who haven’t been performing well in the shootout this season) scored two goals in the shootout. Terry Murray’s strategy in the shootout has always been to shoot first in the hopes of scoring and putting pressure on the competition. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been working that way for Murray until O’Sullivan scored leading off the shootout for the Kings. Apparently, when scoring on the first try, Murray’s approach works. Kopitar missed his shooutout attempt and Dustin Brown scored ending the shooutout before the Flyers’ third shooter.
With 31 saves (33 counting the shootout) and a save percentage of 96.9%, Quick earned the first star of the game and is listed as ESPN’s 3rd star of the day. Though Ersberg is healthy now, he remained on the bench due to the great performances Quick has been giving. I’m sure Ersberg will be in goal again for the Kings, since I can’t imagine Terry Murray not giving him another chance after his injury, but long stretches of starts have been common this season for all three of the Kings’ goaltenders.
The Flyers only had 3 power play chances today, but were held without a power play goal. After only scoring one last night, Philadelphia definitely didn’t look like the number 2 power play in the country when visiting southern California this season. The Kings did score a power play goal in one of their 6 chances against the Flyers, which means they had one more power play goal than the Flyers, just like the Ducks last night.
On the bright side for the Flyers, they went into tonight’s game tied in points with the Rangers (though still ahead of them for the Atlantic division lead because of playing fewer games) and came out of it as the sole division leader and third in the eastern conference. The Kings also moved up in the standings (to 12th from 14th in the west and back into 4th in the Pacific.
The Staples Center announced attendance tonight was a sellout of 18,118. It didn’t break any records or include any SRO tickets and there were many empty seats, but most of the empty seats were in the PR section & the suites (sold out for every sporting event in Staples Center). Clearly, the Flyers are a huge draw in southern California.