Goaltender Jonathan Quick has helped put the fight in the red-hot Kings

Goaltender Jonathan Quick has helped put the fight in the red-hot Kings
Kings goalie Johnathan Quick returned to action against the Ducks on Feb. 25 at Staples Center. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Feisty doesn't begin to describe Jonathan Quick when he's at his most irritated. He's come close to fighting, a subject that seems to get broached whenever his crease gets crowded.

Teammate Andy Andreoff almost doesn't want to picture Quick dropping his glove and blocker.


"Honestly, I wouldn't want to fight Quickie," Andreoff said. "Quickie's a big, strong guy. I'm sure he'd take the other goalie out."

Quick looked ready to throw down with noted Ducks pest Corey Perry on Tuesday when the two tangled into a heap behind the net. Quick instead was hit with a roughing penalty, his second this season. That doesn't include at least one other scrum, against the Calgary Flames, when his mask was ripped off.

If Quick seems more amped than usual, the Kings gladly will feed off it. He prefers to let his play speak for itself, and that's been loud with a 2.06 goals-against average and .936 save percentage, which through Tuesday ranked third and second in the NHL, respectively. His low-tolerance level cannot be measured in numbers, outside of its translation to victories, and that's been the backbeat to the Kings' start.

"Just the way he's so into the game and emotional — it creates energy for us and creates momentum for us," Andreoff said. "When he's that into the game we want to be there for Quickie. I think that's a huge key for us."

Brooks Laich is getting to know Quick after spending most of his NHL career in the Eastern Conference. Laich often communicates with Quick as a penalty killer, and he's also seeing up close how driven his goaltender is.

"Love the emotion," Laich said. "When your leaders are emotionally invested in the game, it pulls everybody into the fight … just how he competes in the crease, competes for his space, competes for the puck."

If Quick starts Thursday, his counterpart will be familiar as T Peter Budaj of the Tampa Bay Lightning is expected to start in a matchup of division leaders. Budaj, 35, experienced a late career re-boot with the Kings last season before it abruptly ended when former general manager Dean Lombardi sent him to Tampa Bay in a trade for Ben Bishop, among other pieces.

"We loved having Peter here," Kings coach John Stevens said, "but he's just a member of another team now."

Intense opener

Big hits. Fights. Scrums. Two disallowed goals. An overtime finish. The consensus was that Tuesday's 4-3 overtime Kings victory was as intense as a Ducks-Kings game can get in November. And that was the first installment of the five-game regular-season series.

"How much more do you want?" Andreoff said.

The Kings held an optional skate Wednesday and it was welcomed following a game that had a combined 79 shots, 54 hits and 25 blocked shots. Drew Doughty played 35 minutes 31 seconds, a career high.

"Drew will tell you he wishes he played 35 minutes every night," Stevens said. Stevens noted that Doughty got a recovery day and that the Kings monitor fatigue levels of every player.

"There's chronic and acute," Stevens said. "Over time we try to track both those and … I think we're way further on that than we were [previously]."




When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

On the air: TV: FSW; Radio: 790.

Update: Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov were the NHL's top two scorers through Tuesday's games. Stamkos had points in the Lightning's first 11 games. The Kings have earned at least 11 wins through their first 15 games for the third time in team history.

Twitter: @curtiszupke