Darryl Sutter said “I hate myself for pulling goalies” at practice on Saturday, and actions back up that statement. Saturday’s loss to Anaheim was the only true performance-based occurrence in which he pulled a goalie as the Kings’ head coach. Jonathan Quick had left a game in Colorado last February 22 after allowing three first period goals, though that came on the second leg of back-to-back games and followed a night of travel from Phoenix. There was also a 40-minute performance in a 3-1 loss at Florida last February 9, though Quick had allowed only two goals, and Sutter explained the move by saying “no big deal, just something different,” at the time.
Including the playoffs, Saturday’s contest ended a string of 43 consecutive games in which he played at least 58 minutes – a streak that included five shootouts and a trio of playoff games in which he logged 78 minutes (Game 5 at Phoenix), 74 minutes (Game 2 at New Jersey) and 68 minutes (Game 1 at New Jersey).
The sample size remains small, though entering tonight’s play the Kings rank 26th in the league with an .882 save percentage. Just as bizarre as that stat is that Calgary ranks 30th in that category – one year after Mikka Kiprusoff ranked eighth amongst starting goaltenders (Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak of St. Louis are both counted as starting goaltenders). Kiprusoff hasn’t ceded the crease to Leland Irving in the Flames’ six games this season.
Jonathan Quick, on the infrequency of leaving a game early:
“I’m sure it’s happened a few times. Obviously, you let the team down when that does happen. It’s in the past now, and all you can think about is going out and trying to help your team get a win next time.”
Quick, on Nick Bonino’s first goal Saturday night:
“He made a nice move. You know what it was, it was a strong move where he comes in and he’s showing shot, and I was expecting a shot. He ended up making a nice move and beats me and another guy with a forehand-backhand move. Obviously, that’s two games in a row where we’ve given up a goal early in the game like that, and it’s something we need to do a better job of enduring and making sure it doesn’t happen. You know, you’ve got 58 minutes to play left in the game, and you’re down 1-0 – you’re already putting yourself at a disadvantage. It’s important to get that first one.”