Martin Jones received his share of shootout practice early in the season in the American Hockey League, when five of the first six Manchester Monarchs games extended past overtime.
In those five games, Jones led the team to a 3-2 record by stopping a perfectly respectable 18-of-23 shootout attempts.
National Hockey League shooters? Piece of cake. Jones remained perfect with the Los Angeles Kings by stopping all three Colorado Avalanche shooters and has now stopped all 12 shootout attempts through two opportunities this season.
With the win, he improved to 8-0-0 and tied the NHL record held by Bob Froese, who won each of his first eight games with Philadelphia in 1982-83. Should he win his next game, Jones will surpass Froese and tie Ray Emery’s record for the most consecutive winning decisions to start an NHL career, set between 2002-03 and 2005-06.
Jones has been so lights out that he was in the dark when it came to individual accolades.
“Honestly I don’t even know what the record is,” he said before noting that he was unaware of Froese’s record.
“It’s a good start, but again, it’s something to build off. I just want to make sure I keep working here.”
Through eight games, Jones is 8-0-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .966 save percentage.
He didn’t allow an even strength goal on Saturday and has not allowed a first period goal since joining the Kings. Though the Avalanche had solved him twice while on the power play, he saved his finest save for the shootout, when he stood toe-to-toe with world class forward Matt Duchene, who had scored in both of his shootout attempts this season.
Duchene beat him with a fake before a lunging Jones put his right pad on the sniper’s shot.
“It was a pretty good move. It was a good fake and it got me out of position,” Jones said. “I just tried to throw my legs back and take away as much of the bottom of the net as I could, and I got lucky there.”
The perfect shootout and the denial of all 22 even strength chances drew notice from the opposition.
“I think he’s got a great future in the NHL for sure. He looks really good,” P.A. Parenteau said after the game.
“I knew he was on a run, but I didn’t know him before that. I had no clue who he was and he’s made a name for himself. There’s no doubt about that right now. He looks really good between the pipes.”
Emotion? It wasn’t exactly flowing in the business-as-usual Kings locker room after the game. Jones, who has drawn notice for his steady demeanor – described as “unflappable” by one reporter after the game – articulated the team’s nature after the game.
“I think that’s the key, is to stay even,” he said. “There are going to be stretches where things go well and stretches where they don’t go well. If you can stay pretty even and keep working and make sure that you stick to what’s made you successful, that’s going to help a lot.”