Mon, Feb 27, 2017 - Page 11 News List

Jonathan Quick returns to the ice as Kings sink Ducks

AP, LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick makes a save against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period of their NHL game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Jonathan Quick admits he initially wondered whether he could return from a severe groin injury at all this season.

After four-and-a-half-months away, the Los Angeles Kings’ stalwart goalie is scrambling around the Staples Center crease again, just in time for their playoff push.

Quick made 32 saves in the Kings’ 4-1 win over archrvials the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner had been out for 59 games since he went down in the first period of their season opener on Oct. 12 last year.

“Obviously, when you first get hurt, everything runs through your mind,” Quick said. “You start thinking thoughts that maybe you shouldn’t and [I’m] just glad it worked out that I was able to come back and play here.”

From his standing ovation in the introductions to his frantic final saves, Quick provided a noticeable boost on his return. The Kings and their fans have been drained by Los Angeles’ struggle to stay in playoff position, with seven losses in their previous 11 home games, despite solid goaltending from Peter Budaj.

The Kings have not won a playoff round since their run to their second Stanley Cup title in 2013-2014, but Quick’s unorthodox, theatrical style of play has long epitomized the team’s ability to meet challenges in unusual ways.

Now, the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner is back — and maybe the Kings are, too.

“It was exciting for everybody — players, coaches, fans,” said Darryl Sutter, who became the coach with the most wins in Kings history with the victory. “It was fun to see. He’s an emotional leader in a lot of ways for our hockey club. It’s good to have him back in the room.”

Quick gave up his only goal in the first period when Anaheim’s Andrew Cogliano redirected a pass from Ryan Kesler. The Ducks could not beat him again, and Quick spent the rest of the afternoon doing the splits and showcasing the remarkable athleticism Kings fans have grown to love.

“He’s one of the best, if not the best, goalie in the league,” said Tyler Toffoli, who scored two goals for the Kings. “He stood on his head and made some big saves when we need them.”

Quick won a career-best 40 games last season to become a Vezina Trophy finalist for the second time.

When healthy, he has been the starting goalie since December 2008, becoming the franchise’s career leader in victories in March 2014.

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