UMass’ Quick Backstops Kings to Western Conference Finals

The best player ever to come out of the University of Massachusetts hockey program so far is headed to the NHL's Western Conference Finals.

Jonathan Quick made 23 saves on May 6 in backstopping the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues to complete a four-game sweep.

The eighth-seeded Kings, who last made the NHL semifinals in 1993 when Wayne Gretzky himself was lining up in L.A., dispatched the second-seeded Blues after ousting the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks in five games in the first round.

The Kings are the first NHL No. 8 seed to ever perform the feat of dispatching the top two seeds in the same playoff season.

Quick, who went 23-22-6 for the Minutemen in 54 games at UMass from 2005-07, has gone 8-1 so far in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and has allowed just 14 goals in nine contests, with one shutout. He compiled a 35-21-13 record during the 2011-12 NHL regular season with a 1.95 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and a league-leading 10 shutouts.

The Kings will face the third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes, who topped Chicago and Nashville, for the right to play for the Stanley Cup.

"They're playing well," said Quick to the Los Angeles Times about the Coyotes. "They're playing with a lot of confidence now. They have Mike Smith, who's playing as well as anybody in the league in net, and it's going to be a challenge."

The series starts Sunday night at 8 p.m ET on the NBC Sports Network.

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