LOS ANGELES—The Kings were headed to a shootout Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center. Not just any shootout, but one that would clinch a Stanley Cup playoff berth for the winner.
They came into the game with the hottest shootout goalkeeper in the league in Jonathan Quick and the most precise shooter in Jarret Stoll, and both came through to help the Kings to a 3-2 victory and their second consecutive postseason berth.
Stoll scored his ninth goal in 10 shootout attempts this season, the highest percentage of any player with four or more attempts in the six years the shootout has been used as a tiebreaker.
Quick improved to 10-0 in shootouts this season, matched only by Mathieu Garon, who went 10-0 as a member of Edmonton in 2007-08.
“Sometimes he amazes me as to how he as to how he comes out at the end of the day in a shootout situation,” Kings coach Terry Murray said of Quick. “He had to make a stop for us to win and he did.”
Quick didn’t hesitate to pass along the credit to players like Stoll, who make his job a lot simpler.
“I get a lot of help,” Quick said. “I’m sure if you take a look at the numbers, we’re right near the top of the league as far as goals scored in the shootout. It makes it a lot easier when these guys score and it takes the pressure off me.”
Stoll has converted eight straight shootout attempts since his only miss Nov. 20 in Boston.
“I’m just trying to hit my shot,” Stoll said. “A couple different options going in. Maybe it looks like I have only one because I’ve been going there a lot, but I just trying to shoot before the goalie gets set. Also, I like the challenge. [Phoenix goalie Ilya] Bryzgalov, he challenges a little bit later, so I wanted to try and get him so he wasn’t set.”
Murray said the most impressive aspect of Stoll’s performance in the shootout this season is his poise.
“It is pretty amazing,” Murray said. “He just finds a way to get it done at an important time. Everything is on the line and he looks so relaxed going to the net.”
Stoll has become so successful, it appeared teammate Michal Handzus took a page out of his book on the first attempt, beating Bryzgalov up high on his glove side, a patented move by Stoll this season.
“That’s good,” Stoll said. “He showed me where to go.”