Not long after the Kings' Jonathan Quick completed his 41st career shutout — a 5-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night — the goalie swiftly paid homage to one of the two men he moved past to get the record for U.S.-born goalies.
Quick had recorded his 40th shutout on Dec. 28 at Vancouver, tying John Vanbiesbrouck and Frank Brimsek. Brimsek, known as Mr. Zero, won the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 1939 and 1941, the Original Six Era. So the Kings goalie was asked about Vanbiesbrouck, who at least played in Quick's lifetime.
“It was a lot tougher for him to get shutouts when he was playing,” Quick said. “It's cool. It's a team effort too, to get a shutout. . . . I think his shutouts were probably worth two of mine, so you take it with a grain of salt.”
That's Quick. He spread around the praise and probably would have found a way to compliment Mr. Zero (Brimsek) if someone had brought up the Eveleth, Minn.-born goalie, who finished his NHL career in Chicago and died in 1998.
There were plenty of kudos to go around on a night when the Kings dismantled the reigning Stanley Cup champions at the United Center.
The Blackhawks often struggle in March and they have lost three straight games — all to Western Conference teams, St. Louis, Dallas and the Kings.
The Kings led, 2-0, before the game was four minutes old, sparked by two goals just 18 seconds apart. Former Blackhawk Kris Versteeg scored the first one at 3:17 and set up the next goal, by Milan Lucic, who recorded his 17th of the season.
“That's a pretty big deflator for that team. From that point on, you kind of could feel that we were going to win the game,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said.
Also scoring were Vincent Lecavalier (his eighth), Dustin Brown (ninth) and Tyler Toffoli (25th). Brown's goal ended a long slump in emphatic fashion as he scored on a breakaway in the third period, making usually formidable Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith look vulnerable.
It was Brown's first goal in 16 games, dating to Feb. 9 at Boston. That made it 4-0 and Toffoli also ended a long drought, scoring for the first time in 11 games.
Versteeg, who had two separate stints with the Blackhawks, may have been the happiest man of the night with a forceful fist pump. It was the first time he had scored against his former team, and these were his first points with the Kings since they acquired him in a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes on Feb. 28.
“It wasn't actually that big,” he said of the fist pump. “But when you don't score 50, sometimes you get excited when you score goals.”
Said Quick: “You're happy to see him get one especially against one of his old teams.”
The only suspense left after the Toffoli goal was whether Quick would get the shutout. He faced 32 shots, and the NHL's scoring leader, Patrick Kane, had six of them. Kane is pointless in his last three games and has scored two goals in March.
Chicago went 0 for 6 on the power play, including one late in the third as Kings center Nick Shore went off for interference at 16:39.
The Kings killed it off again, and Quick secured his career milestone. Of course, it wasn't something that had been weighing on him and he wasn't aware of the milestone until recently.
“Somebody told me when I tied him,” Quick said. “So I found out then. But then it's been awhile so you completely forget about it. You keep track of wins, not really shutouts. That's all that matters. If it was a 5-4 game, I'd be just as happy.”
KINGS AT DALLAS STARS
When: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. PDT
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Kings face a busy schedule this week, and games on back-to-back nights, so backup goalie Jhonas Enroth is likely to start against his former team.