These are good times for the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate. The Monarchs play tonight, and they take a three-game win streak into the game. With a 20-11-1-1 record, they sit atop the Atlantic Division. Much like last season, goaltending has been carrying the Monarchs of late, but the storyline is significantly different.
Last season, Jonathan Bernier was the AHL’s top goalie. He “graduated” to the NHL, and it was presumed that Jeff Zatkoff, Bernier’s backup last season, would step into the No. 1 goalie job. He did, for a while, but recently has been supplanted by Martin Jones, a former undrafted-free-agent signing by the Kings who is in his first professional season after a strong junior career. Jones, who turns 21 next month, ranks second in the AHL in goals-against average (1.60) and save percentage (.950) and has a 9-2-1 record. Zatkoff has a 3.10 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. The AHL schedule regularly includes games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and for the past two weekends, Jones has drawn the start in two of the three games.
In terms of scoring, Bud Holloway and Andrei Loktionov each have a team-high 23 points, and Loktionov leads in assists with 18. Justin Azevedo has a team-high 10 goals and Viatcheslav Voynov leads all defensemen in scoring with 22 points.