Erik Ersberg, who has started only two of 31 games in goal so far, will get the nod Wednesday when the Kings play in San Jose. The Kings are expected to go back to Jonathan Quick for Thursday’s home game against Phoenix. Here’s what Terry Murray said about the change in goal…
MURRAY: “It’s been a while since he has been in, but it’s more the fact that it’s a back to back and a lot of games in a short period of time. So he gets the nod.”
And why isn’t Quick, the Kings’ No. 1 goalie, playing against the first-place team in the Pacific Division?
MURRAY: “Well, it’s a road game. I’m a big believer in playing my best players at home, and I know Quicker is my No. 1 guy. The home game, to me, is an important game, as this one is, but I always think that if you’re going to have that kind of decision that you have to make, I will consistently go with the home game for the No. 1 goalie.”
Ersberg allowed four goals in a loss to the Rangers on Oct. 14, then broke a lengthy losing streak when he allowed two goals in a victory over Carolina on Nov. 11. Two days later, Ersberg entered the game in the second period after Jonathan Quick allowed three goals against Atlanta, but Ersberg hasn’t been in a game since then.
At the start of this season, Murray cited Ersberg’s ability to play well, after long stretches of inactivity, as one of his strengths. Below, Murray talks about why Ersberg (and similar goalies) have success in that area…
MURRAY: “I think there’s a uniqueness to it, absolutely. It’s a requirement that you work extremely hard in practice to keep your game sharp. You have to clearly understand that you’re the backup goaltender, that you must stay ready at all times, to clean up in a game maybe, and take advantage of your opportunities. No matter how many weeks or months it is from start to start, that’s your job. There is a uniqueness that some goalies certainly can do it better than others.
“We saw it from Ersberg last year. He did a real good job in that particular scenario a couple times, and that’s what is going to be required tomorrow. Obviously it’s been a while since he played. He has been working hard in the practices. He looks good. He’s as good as you could possibly expect, after these many days off without playing a game. So I know it’s a big requirement. It’s going to be a hard test for him, but it is for every player that’s going to play the game. It’s a difficult building to play in.”