Last night’s win for the Kings wasn’t just a feel-good triumph over a struggling organization. It was a milestone night for two of the most important Kings players, too.
First, Anze Kopitar scored his long-awaited 300th goal. It felt like a Very Kopitar Goal, too, with the assist coming from Dustin Brown, and Kopitar himself exhibiting extreme patience to pick his spot over Cam Talbot.
But perhaps the even bigger milestone was Jonathan Quick picking up his 300th career win. He didn’t have a ton of work to do, facing only 16 shots total the whole night, but a win is a win, and Quick made it count.
With Quick’s milestone win yesterday, he became the 17th goaltender in league history with 300 wins before playing 600 games. (Quick has 575 games played.) He’s also the second fastest American-born goaltender to hit 300 wins, sitting just behind Ryan Miller, who accomplished the feat in 566 games.
The win was also Quick’s 51st career shutout.
But let’s rewind for just one minute and take it all the way back to 2007.
The 2007-08 Los Angeles Kings were not particularly good. They finished dead last in the Pacific Division with 71 points, and tied the Tampa Bay Lightning for last in the league overall. Yes, even the much-maligned Atlanta Thrashers (76 points) did better than the Kings.
For a modern-day fancy stats look at just how bad that team was, here are a few charts:
Remember, the more red something is, the more often that particular event is happening as compared to the league average. The Kings not only struggled to generate any offense of their own, but they also allowed an extraordinary number of dangerous chances to reach their goalies. So that enormous red spot in front of the net is very bad. Looking back, it’s maybe no wonder Jonathan Quick is a very angry goaltender today.
Over the course of the 2007-08 season, the Kings played seven different goalies, with Jason LaBarbera getting the bulk of the starts. Anze Kopitar, in just his second professional season, already led the Kings forwards in average time on ice (20:41) despite being the youngest everyday player on the team. Rob Blake, Lubomir Visnovsky, Michal Handzus, and Jaroslav Modry all still played on the Kings.
Quick, who played in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL in his first profession season, got the call-up to the Kings in December 2007, and only had to wait a few days to make his debut. Quick got the net at home against the Buffalo Sabres on December 6, 2007. The Sabres were slightly less mediocre that season than the Kings, coming into the game with a 12-13-1 record.
But the Kings decided to help their young goaltender out, going up by four goals in the first period alone. In fact, midway through the second, the Kings had a 7-0 lead. Quick stopped 15 of 17 shots en route to an 8-2 Kings win in his debut performance. He’s come a long way since that night—first of all, he doesn’t smile and laugh nearly as much in post-game interviews—but that night was the first glimpse Kings fans had at a player who would be a game changer for their franchise.
Our recap of yesterday’s totally rad win. [Jewels from the Crown]
Ken Hitchcock didn’t exactly have anything nice to say about his team, either. [Edmonton Sun]
Former Kings Things
An overview of the Western Conference players headed to the AHL All-Star Game. [Inside AHL Hockey]
World Juniors is going to be wild next year:
As it stands now, the groups for next year’s World Junior Championship:
Fin/USA winner Fin/USA loser
Slovakia Czech Rep
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) January 6, 2019
The USA U-18 women’s squad won its Women’s World Championship opening game, 3-2 over Russia. [USA Hockey]
Could Sergei Bobrovsky end up as a Florida Panther? [The Athletic]
Minnesota’s Matt Dumba helped boost a fundraiser for a 12-year old hockey player looking to be able to participate in a tournament overseas, and provided some encouragement along the way. [The Color of Hockey]
Want to see Edmonton lose again? They’re playing the Ducks tonight. Not that we’re rooting for the Ducks (we’re not), but, man, Edmonton. Yikes. 5:00 pm Pacific, airing on Prime.
Your nationally televised games are Washington at Detroit on the NHL Network, 2:00 pm Pacific, and Chicago at Pittsburgh on NBCSN, 5:00 pm Pacific.