Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has an .891 save percentage and 2.70 goals against… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
The next time you hear Kings goalie Jonathan Quick dodge responsibility for a loss will be the first.
Quick owns these things — the losses and the goals allowed. So imagine how someone who is already self-critical managed to handle the loss Sunday in Detroit in which he let in a uncharacteristically soft goal with five seconds left?
"Obviously, that was a tough pill to swallow," Quick said Thursday after practice. "It kind of hurts a little more because you know how hard the team played in front of me. ... You feel like you let a lot of guys down. At the same time, that is part of the position. That's what I've signed up for.
"You're going to have some ups and down and you're going to give up goals that you're going to want back. ... It's how you handle it."
His response to the Detroit game could come as early as Friday against Columbus. Backup Jonathan Bernier started and won at St. Louis on Monday night.
Of course, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter would depart from years of standard behavior if he were to announce a starting goaltender the day before a game. In fact, he took time to explain his reasoning.
"It doesn't really serve much of a purpose, publicly. It's not like you have a rotation," Sutter said. "Lots of things happen. In more of a roundabout way, you know what, we want to be a playoff team. We need a goalie to get hot. Not get patted on the back.
"… Listen, this team rode a hot goalie last year, right? They didn't the year before. They rode a hot goalie last year. So you know what? We're in the same thing again — we need one to get hot."
They also need defensemen to keep dropping from the lineup at every turn. The Kings are missing half of their defense corps from last season's Stanley Cup playoff run: Matt Greene, Willie Mitchell and Alec Martinez.
Martinez, who was injured early at St. Louis, was put on injured reserve. He could be out a minimum of two weeks. Jake Muzzin will take his spot and Sutter said, in frank terms, that he was displeased with Muzzin's performance in Anaheim on Feb. 2.
"I talked to him about it yesterday," Sutter said. "Most guys play like that one NHL game, they're doing time again. He's got to get his foot on the right pedal if he wants to play again. He's going to play tomorrow and he better have it on the right pedal. Or somebody else gets the chance. That's not being harsh or anything. That's exactly what it takes to be a defenseman."
Others are getting adjusted to the newcomers on defense.
"It changes a little bit but not enough so it should change your game," Quick said. "We've got three guys in the lineup that weren't in the lineup last year. Different faces you've got to get used to, it's not going to happen overnight. But at the same time, you've got a job to do. These guys have been doing it really well. They've handled it with everything that's been thrown at them."
Where: Staples Center.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 1150.
Record vs. Blue Jackets: 1-0-0.
Update: This will mark defenseman Jack Johnson's first time back at Staples Center since he was traded for Jeff Carter last season. The Kings and Blue Jackets have since played twice, with both games at Columbus.