March 19, 2011 12:10 pm

Goalie situation going according to plan

Jonathan Quick will make his 51st start of the season tonight. After tonight, the Kings have 10 games remaining, including one set of back-to-back games and one two-game road trip, so it’s reasonable to assume that, if things continue as planned, Quick will end up with 59 regular-season starts. That’s exactly where Terry Murray wanted Quick to end up. Quick made a franchise-record 70 starts last season, and afterward Murray indicated that it had been too much, and that he wanted to limit Quick to 60 starts. Over a six-month season, things rarely go according to plan, but so far, this one has. Jonathan Bernier’s strong recent play has made it easier for Murray to give Quick some rest, and Murray said he is pleased that things have worked out thus far…

MURRAY: “There was a stretch there, in the season, when we were going with Quick a lot. That was a bit of a change from the plan coming into the start of the year. That’s the way it goes though. You’ve got to make those adjustments. I’m happy that it is working out, with that number of games. I think that’s a clear message that he’s our No. 1 guy. He has played very well for us all year long. It’s going to help him be a physically stronger player at the end of the season. Emotionally, he has to tell me how he’s doing, and clearly he’s saying that he feels good, and fresher, and we’re going to have a better player because of it.

“That’s been the purpose of going about business the way we have, with both goaltenders splitting the most recent games. So that’s a good thing for us, because I want to start to go more now with Quick, as we get to the stretch here, and have the big bulk of the responsibility on his shoulders. … The game today, it’s a very demanding schedule. It seems to be more compressed today than ever, a lot of travel of course, and every game is such an important game that if you start to go with a young player — and we’re talking about two young goaltenders here — I think if you put that kind of workload on a young goaltender, as I did last year with 70-plus games, it becomes a little too demanding. So this is a good thing, that we have Bernier. He’s really stepped up his game. I love the way that he has improved his game in the second half here. He has played in, and won, some very big games. It’s two guys working hard for the team, and it will help everybody stay refreshed.”

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