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Storr’s Strong Play Is a Relief to Coaches

It was two weeks ago, and the Kings’ coaches were huddled, trying to figure out their usual problem, which was how to find somebody to stop pucks.

Steve Passmore had played well enough over a four-game stretch, beating Dallas and St. Louis and holding down Detroit and San Jose in 2-1 losses, but then he struggled.

And once again there was Jamie Storr.

They called him in and “asked him what, as a coaching staff, we could do to help him,” Coach Andy Murray said then.

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Murray also laid out a scenario that basically said if Storr played well, he could play every night.

Twice before this season opportunities had knocked, only to find nobody at the Storr residence. Here it was again and who knows how many more would come? Just stop pucks.

Storr has.

In the last seven games, he has a 5-0 shutout of Calgary, has given up 13 goals in 148 shots for a .912 save percentage and has a 2.02 goals-against average.

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But those numbers support another figure, which is more important.

He is 5-2.

“The biggest stat in goaltending is wins,” he said. “When you’re winning, other stats will fall into place for you.”

King coaches say the team has missed a chance to gain as many as eight to 10 points in the standings because of faulty goaltending in the first 48 games. Some of that goaltending has been Storr’s, which is why he has been supplanted twice by Passmore.

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Those 8-10 points would have the Kings comfortably in the Western Conference playoff race.

Goaltending has set a pace for the Kings.

“If we get saves early in a game, we have a chance to win it,” Murray said.

King skaters tend to get down when a bad goal is surrendered early. A bad goal comes from a shot that should have been routinely handled. Goalies know that too and are told to handle the routine shots perfectly, the difficult saves as best you can.

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“What they told me was that they expected my best, not most of the time but all of the time,” said Storr, again referring to the face-to-face session with the King coaches.

It has been the problem with Storr, Passmore and other King goalies, including injured Stephane Fiset, but the problem has been exacerbated. When a good goalie struggles, it’s for a game. He comes back with a good start on the next night. It’s why he’s considered a good goalie.

But King goalies’ problems have stretched over time. They follow three or four good games with two or three bad ones, which is why the position has become a merry-go-round. It’s a vicious circle coaches are asking Storr to stop. They would rather worry about penalty killing or shuffling lines than have every concern revolve around one position.


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