This was the case for the Los Angeles Kings. The team lost its starter and one of the best goaltenders in the world in Jonathan Quick to groin injury just over a week ago and found out today that he will miss at least one more month before getting back into the Kings’ net.
While this is terrible news for the Kings, their goaltending situation has been anything but bleak since Quick got hurt. In fact, one could say that the club’s netminding has been outstanding and is one of the main reasons why the team finds itself just two points behind the Western Conference and league-leading Chicago Blackhawks.
Ben Scrivens, who the Kings acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs when they dealt Jonathan Bernier, has been terrific for the Kings since jumping into the net for the injured Quick. Since Quick’s injury back on November 14, Scrivens, 27, has just one loss (in overtime to the New Jersey Devils) and has done more than his part to help his team win hockey games.
On the season, Scrivens is 5-1-2 with a 1.43 goals against average (first in the league), a .942 save percentage (third in the league) and three shutouts (first in the league). Not bad for a netminder who many thought would play very little behind Quick.
Most of Scrivens’s great statistics are due to his play last week in a trip to New York and New Jersey. Scrivens stopped 23 of 25 shots in a win over the Islanders and then followed up with back-to-back shutouts in which he made 26 and 37 saves against the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers, respectively.
For a team that plays on the west coast, those trips across the country to the east are never easy. There is a lot of travel involved, a lot of games over the course of several days and not much time to relax.
Scrivens handled last week like a veteran and showed that when given the opportunity to shine, he will take it by the horns and get the job done. Not only did he take things his stride, but he passed much of the credit over to his teammates, which is something he explained to CBSLA.com after his team shutout the Rangers this past Sunday night.
With Quick due out for another month, it is easy to say that the team is going to need Scrivens to continue playing the way he is playing right now in order for them to keep pace with the rest of their conference. There are several reasons why he will be able to do this.
“It’s only three games. I wouldn’t look too much into it,” Scrivens said in matter-of-fact fashion as he drank from a water bottle. “The guys play well in front of me. I’m just trying to go out and give the team a chance.”
For starters, Scrivens is playing with a lot of confidence. Scrivens is not only stopping the first shot, but he is finding ways to get into position to stop second and third shots as well.
Secondly, his team is playing well in front of him. Yes, there have been some games where Scrivens has had to stop a lot of shots but for the most part, Kings’ head coach Darryl Sutter has his team playing a disciplined style of hockey and as a result, Scrivens is reaping the benefits.
Lastly, Scrivens still has a lot to prove in this league. To this date, Scrivens has played just 42 games in the NHL so for him to really make a mark on both the Kings and the league, he needs to sustain this kind of play for a longer period of time.
The Kings may be without their best player but with Scrivens playing well and owning the Kings’ net, things are in good hands until Quick is healthy enough to get back between the pipes.