Each leg of this Kings jaunt across North America seems to have the same theme, but with different angles and similar results.
The Kings’ defense bends but doesn’t break. Jonathan Quick is there to make sure it doesn’t. In the meantime, the offense strikes swiftly after bouts of poor play.
That was the case again Thursday, although this chapter was all about Quick after his 40-save shutout in his 500th career game, a 4-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens.
Here’s what we learned:
Quick showed his reflective side. Never known as a wordy goalie, Quick was downright chatty when discussing his accomplishment, the team’s success and the state of colleague Carey Price.
This was three nights after one of Quick’s more frustrating games, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, after which he was visibly edgy. The Kings smashing success to the season might make Quick more amicable, and he’s been impressive in a polar turnaround from last season’s injury debacle.
Quick has beaten two former Vezina Trophy winners on this trip alone, against Price and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kurtis MacDermid is a good story. His celebration for his first NHL goal was getting looped on Twitter within seconds. The 6-foot-5, 233-pound MacDermid worked his way up to a free agent contract with the Kings in the summer and made the opening roster.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of time, but it’s all worth it,” MacDermid said. “I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
He was partnered with Drew Doughty for the final two-thirds of the game, then got his first NHL goal against Price.
Said Kings coach John Stevens of the switch to Doughty with MacDermid, “Well, I think Drew could play with me if you asked him to. He’s just a real calming force. He gets to pucks. He’s always been good with a big steady defender and a left-shot player.”
The Canadiens are a mess. Price was given mock cheers for stopping a long clearing shot as the state of the Habs turns ugly. They are 2-7-1, and general manager Marc Bergevin is under fire for not making moves to improve the roster. It would appear pointless to remove coach Claude Julien after he was hired in February.
Now Price, one of the best goalies in the world, is struggling.
Fans at Bell Centre voiced their displeasure Thursday, and it will only get more interesting from here.
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke