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Don't hold your breath waiting for Jonathan Quick's return to Kings

Don't hold your breath waiting for Jonathan Quick's return to Kings
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick did not practice Tuesday because of a lower-body injury. (Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

File it under statistics that would be unheard of in past seasons.

The Kings have yet to win a game with Jonathan Quick in goal this season. Maybe the only bigger concern is getting him back in net to correct that stat.

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Quick did not practice Tuesday because of a lower-body injury, and coach John Stevens didn’t sound like his No. 1 goalie would be available soon.

“I’d say he’s probably more than day to day,” Stevens said. “I wouldn’t consider it extremely long term, like in the past. But … he’s going to be a little more than day to day.”

Quick reported the injury late in practice Saturday, a development that surprised coaches. It is believed to be different from the lower-body injury that kept him out for five games at the beginning of the season.

Because of Quick’s history, namely major groin injuries in 2013 and 2016, it’s fair to wonder about his ability to play 60-plus games this season.

“I’m not sure there’s anything in particular you can point to in this situation,” Stevens said. “I think he’s done a good job of really staying on top of everything, his preventive maintenance, his day-to-day routine.”

Stevens has said his defense has not played well in front of Quick, whose struggles mirror the team’s 2-7-1 start before a 4-3 win Sunday against the New York Rangers with Jack Campbell in goal. Quick took losses against the New York Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars in his three-game return from his initial injury. He is 0-3-1, and his .845 save percentage is far below his .916 career average.

Campbell’s seven starts already are a career high, and he’s mostly held the fort despite a few hiccups. He’s twice allowed goals to bank in off him from behind the net, against the Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. But he finished solid against the Rangers for his first win since he shut out the Montreal Canadiens on Oct.11.

“We needed the win,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t my best. But that’s what the team is for.”

He’ll get the net again, with Peter Budaj as backup, barring a change in Quick’s status. The situation resulted in the Ontario Reign signing Evan Buitenhuis to a professional tryout contract to back up Cal Petersen.

Vilardi not rushing

Gabriel Vilardi practiced again and remains in a red, no-contact jersey as he manages a chronic back injury. His ability to string together two practices with the team is progress in itself given his history of setbacks. Vilardi said taking contact is “probably the next step” but “I’m not rushing anything.”

Vilardi, the Kings’ top draft pick last year, missed training camp and has not played since the end of last season, for his junior team. He is an injured non-roster player.

“It’s definitely been tough,” he said.

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