The crease is not known as a happy place for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. It’s usually where glares and occasional stick jabs are directed toward opponents.
But if there was an ironic moment that said Quick was back, it came with 9:38 remaining when he made a sprawled left-to-right save. Replays showed the prone Quick look up and flash a brief smile to a teammate.
In his first game since the World Cup, Quick made 31 saves in a 1-0 exhibition win Sunday against the Ducks at Honda Center. Quick, who was the No. 1 goalie for Team USA, said “it felt like another game” but the shutout signaled that he was still sharp, behind a defense that he wasn’t familiar with other than defensemen Alec Martinez and Rob Scuderi.
“It’s not surprising to see him come in and play well,” Scuderi said. “He’s had a 10-day break but it’s hard to be impressed when you’ve seen it so many times.”
The Kings and Ducks are split into two teams, and the lineups are mostly prospects. The Kings lost, 3-2, to Edmonton in Vernon, British Columbia, in another game Sunday.
But it speaks to Quick’s fire that he still earned the shutout.
“He wants to win every time he puts the gear on, so you know you are going to get a competitive effort out of him,” Kings assistant coach Davis Payne said.
Quick outdueled his former backup Jonathan Bernier, who made 25 saves in his unofficial Ducks home debut. Bernier’s mistake came on a pass that hit Michael Sgarbossa and went to Andy Andreoff, who put it in the open net even though it came off its moorings.
But Bernier called it his best game so far. Quick at the other end made it fun.
“We played against each other quite a bit [when I was with the Toronto Maple Leafs],” Bernier said. “Now I’m definitely going to see him a lot more now than on the East Coast.”
Kings forward Adrian Kempe had many homegrown NHL players to idolize as he grew up in Sweden, but his favorite player was current teammate Marian Gaborik, from Slovakia.
Why did Kempe gravitate toward Gaborik?
“The speed,” Kempe said. “Gaborik’s been my favorite player since I can remember.”
Ironically, Kempe might have more of an opportunity to make the team with Gaborik out long term with a foot injury. Kempe, 20, is probably the Kings' most intriguing forward prospect, a bullish center and wing who played in his third exhibition.
He’ll likely be an in-season call-up but Mike Stothers, his coach in minor league Ontario, has big expectations for Kempe.
“This is a huge growth year for him,” Stothers said. “His talent level, his skating ability — he should be an NHL-caliber guy. You know what? If he plays the way we think he can, he might be there sooner or later.”
Kings left wing Tanner Pearson received a game misconduct for a hit to the head of Edmonton’s Brandon Davidson … Kings center Nick Shore is day to day because of an undisclosed injury that is “nothing major,” according to Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi … The Ducks assigned 16 players to San Diego.