NHL Playoffs 2012: Jonathan Quick’s Emergence Makes Kings Stanley Cup Contender

The Los Angeles Kings are the hottest story in the NHL right now because of their razor sharp defense, or more specifically, goalie Jonathan Quick.

The 26-year-old followed up an outstanding regular season (1.95 GAA, .929 save percentage) with a performance in the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Vancouver Canucks for the ages.

He saved 164 of 172 shot attempts (.953 save percentage), logging a shutout in Game 3 and allowing only one goal in the Game 5 clincher.

The Kings offense is certainly not a strong point for the club, but that doesn’t matter if Quick can continue to keep up this pace. When you are able to hold the fifth best offense in the league to eight goals in five games, with three of those coming on the road…you have something special.

To put it in perspective, the Penguins scored 10 goals in a single game last week against the Flyers. The Caps and Bruins combined for seven goals on Sunday.

The Kings aren’t supposed to be here. They were the No. 8 seed that barely made the playoffs—the franchise that hadn’t made a postseason appearance since 2001.

The offense isn’t great. They averaged 2.4 goals per game in the series, and are susceptible to painfully long spurts of ineptitude.

But, when you have a hot goalie, everything changes.

Players are able to be more reckless knowing their mistakes can be covered up by Quick. History tells us that time and time again, a hot goalie is better than having a strong offense, or the home-ice advantage.

If you don’t give up goals…you can’t lose. It’s as simple as that.

The Kings’ second-round opponent are the St. Louis Blues, another team with outstanding goaltending thus far in the playoffs. Brian Elliott replaced Jaroslav Halak after Game 1 and hasn’t lost a game since.

There is no question this...

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