WINNIPEG, Canada – Reasons to pull a goalie in only his second start of the season?
Let us go over them after Winnipeg beat the Kings, 5-3, in the Jets' home opener at MTS Center on Friday night. The offensively gifted Jets have scored 10 goals in two games and Devin Setoguchi and Evander Kane combined for six points against the Kings.
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, who is usually loath to make a goalie switch in-game, did just that in the third period, pulling starter Jonathan Quick after he gave up a goal on a wraparound by Setoguchi at 5:19 that widened the Jets' lead to 4-1.
"Three reasons to pull goalies from a coaching standpoint," Sutter said. "No. 1: momentum. No. 2: goalie's performance. No. 3: team's performance."
If you guessed door No. 1, you would be correct. Though Quick lacked his usual sharpness, he didn't get a lot of help in front from his teammates. For instance, Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was a minus-three.
"I think at that stage, I'd say momentum," Sutter said.
It nearly worked. In came backup Ben Scrivens, who was acquired by the Kings in the Jonathan Bernier deal in June.
After the goalie change, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams each scored on the power play, cutting Winnipeg's lead to 4-3, and the Kings were pressing hard late for the equalizer. With Scrivens pulled for an extra attacker, the Jets scored an empty-netter, by Bryan Little, with 48 seconds remaining.
"Ultimately I think they picked up the play and they got stronger as the game wore on," Williams said. "We wilted a little bit in the second and early in the third.
"We wanted to have the same type of response we did in Minnesota. We were in the same position. But we didn't get the same result."
Said Scrivens: "Obviously it's a worst-case scenario. Once you don't start, you don't want to go in because that means you're down or there's an injury. You never wish ill will on anyone.
"Obviously it was unfortunate that I had to go in. A couple of good penalty kills and we made it close and exciting but we just couldn't find that last one."
The Kings played and won in a shootout at Minnesota on Thursday night, and Friday it looked as though they were running on fumes in the second period after a strong opening 20 minutes. They outshot the Jets, 18-7, and entered the second period tied, 1-1. Defenseman Matt Greene scored for the Kings and the dynamic, hard-hitting Kane had the Jets' goal.
Olli Jokinen, one of Sutter's favorite former players, started the surge in the second period with a rebound from the right circle at 12:54 that made it 2-1 Winnipeg. Then Setoguchi scored twice in the third — his first actually went in off Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr — and that was it for Quick.
"I didn't feel like I was fighting it," Quick said. "They get three cheesy ones and the puck is rolling. I think if you ask the shooters they didn't know where it was going. There's three right there for you, and they get one underneath me.
"I didn't hear a whistle. So I thought it was around me. I start looking around for it and it was underneath me. Obviously if you give up four goals, you've got to [get] better. We've got work to do."
Even though it's only two games, some early signs are concerning.
"We gave up seven goals in two games," Quick said. "We've got to get better than that, obviously. We start from there, clean that up. It gives our team a better chance to win."
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