Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick watches from the bench at the end of Game… (Harry How / Getty Images )
It really is a small world after all.
When Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider faced each other in Games 3 and 4 of their teams’ first-round playoff series it was like deja vu all over again.
Quick, a native of Milford, Conn., and Schneider, who was born in Marblehead, Mass., are familiar foes. They opposed each other in prep school, when Quick attended Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Conn., and Schneider attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. They went on to play against each other in college, too, with Quick at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Schneider at Boston College.
Quick has become an elite NHL goalie while Schneider has been stuck behind Roberto Luongo -- at least until he had a strong regular season and went on to supplant Luongo as the Canucks’ playoff starter. He might keep that job long term if the Canucks are eliminated early -- and the Kings are about to get their second chance to end the Canucks' season.
“We played against each other pretty much right on up. For the most part at every level,” Quick said Saturday after the Kings practiced in El Segundo and prepared to travel to Vancouver for Game 5 on Sunday at Rogers Arena.
“I don’t know him too, too well. I’ve played with guys that he’s played with and vice-versa. He’s a good guy, works hard. Great goalie, obviously.
“We played playoff games against each other in high school and college so it’s kind of funny we’re doing it here, too.”
But for Quick, it really doesn’t matter who’s in the other net. He has learned to narrow his focus to simply stopping each shot and not allowing himself to be worried about anything else, like who's in net at the other end.
That concentrated view worked this season for Quick, allowing him to deflect the pressure of playing for a team that ranked 29th in the NHL in goals. He saw no reason to change now, with the Kings holding a 3-1 series lead and again trying to advance to the second round for the first time since 2001.
“We’re going in with the same mentality that we went into Game 1, Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4 with,” he said.
“It doesn’t make a difference where the series is at, whether we’re up 3-1 or down 3-1. We go into this game with the same mentality that we have to win a hockey game and we’re going to do everything we can to win that hockey game. At least for me, I feel like if you start putting too much outside stuff into it, it may throw you off.
“You’ve just got to take it for what it is. It’s just one hockey game. Obviously it’s an important time of the year but we’re going to do everything we can to win one hockey game, and that’s it.”
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