One reference used frequently in the preseason is that of a player being in “midseason form,” i.e., when a player looks and feels comfortable during the preseason, it’s because they appear to be hitting their midseason stride.
That’s usually not the case – even early regular season games can be sloppy and peppered with special teams play – but in the case of Martin Jones, he sure looked comfortable stopping 33-of-35 shots during a 4-2 preseason win over the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on Sunday night.
“There’s definitely some stuff to clean up,” Jones said. “These last two games there’s been probably a few soft little goals, so there’s definitely stuff to clean up, but that’s what we’re doing here, and I’m getting ready to go for the start of the season.”
Good on your high standards, Mr. Jones.
Strong penalty killing starts with security in net, and the Kings killed off all six Ducks power plays, including a total of 2:13 of five-on-three time. Jones stopped all nine shots he faced while shorthanded.
“They can move the puck pretty well with the lineup they had out there tonight,” the second-year goalie said. “Like most teams, they’re going to move the puck pretty well on the five-on-three. So for me, it’s just ‘keep it simple.’ I don’t over-complicate things and get running around. Guys are so good at putting passes through the box and through the seams, so I just try and keep it simple.”
Darryl Sutter was pleased with how Jones appeared to improve as the game progressed – “Both games he’s played full games, third periods have been his best, for sure,” he said – and noted that the 24-year-old isn’t a player that has has issues confidence and composure.
“He doesn’t struggle with that part of his game,” Sutter said. “I think he’s got to continue to work on his game. He’s no different than a young defenseman or a young forward. He’s got to work on his game.”
Jones’ upcoming mask, courtesy of EYECANDYAIR:
Martin Jones, on whether his game is where he wants it to be:
Yeah, I mean, that’s what preseason is for, is to get ready to play the games for real. You look back at the last two games, there’s lots of stuff to work on, lots of stuff to clean up, but that’s what we’re doing, and we’ll be ready to go come the start of the season.
Jones, on any different feeling in camp after his performance last year:
Maybe with a bit more confidence, but I still have the same mindset as I did my first year at camp, which was to come in and try to make the team. Nothing really changes with how I approach the way I play.
Jones, on whether his temperament and approach could be described as “even keel”:
Yeah, I think so. You would probably be able to tell better than me. But, yeah. I just try to stay even and just work my hardest.
Jones, on whether he hopes to see 30-plus shots in preseason games:
Yeah. I mean, that’s the point of preseason, is to get some work in. It’s good getting a little bit of extra work at the end there.
Jones, on whether he feels good getting two full games in a row:
Yeah, for sure. It’s been a while since I played a full game, dating back to the regular season last year. So it definitely feels good. It’s a bit of an adjustment, so I just want to get my timing back.
Jones, on giving off an impression of Jonathan Quick in net:
That’s a good thing, I guess. That’s one of the biggest things coming in, is just getting your compete level and your urgency up to game speed, so that was probably my main focus tonight.
Jones, on how “compete level” manifests itself in goaltenders’ play:
I mean, you watch Jonathan Quick play, and it’s pretty evident. Just loose pucks around the net, the saves that maybe you’re a little bit out of position and you’ve got to compete and show a little bit of desperation.
Jones, on Quick nearing a return:
I kind of knew he would be ready by the start of the season. But either way, it doesn’t really change my approach. I’m always working hard in the summer and preparing for a season. I’m ready to play whenever I’m called upon, so it doesn’t really change my approach.