They’ve played 12 games, and the Kings’ season doesn’t even hit the one-month mark until Sunday.
One early theme has emerged: A five-minute overtime, followed by a shootout, if necessary. Of the Kings’ eight victories, one came in overtime and four more by virtue of the shootout.
If this keeps going, next year’s marketing slogan will be an easy one: “Shout out for the shootout.”
“You either love it or you hate it,” said goalie Jonathan Quick. “Right now, we love it.”
Yes, it can be complicated.
Quick led the league with 10 shootout wins in 2010-11, going 10-0. But even someone with his considerable skills can’t escape the inevitable tough shootout experience. In March 2011, he allowed all three Minnesota Wild shooters to score, lost, and then lost it, smashing his stick against the post.
Now his career record in shootouts stands at 34-18, fifth among active goalies, and boosted by the four shootout wins this season. Quick has stopped 10 of 11 attempts, including getting his revenge on Zach Parise and Co. in the season opener at Minnesota.
“I got lucky on a few so far, pucks kind of rolled on some shooters, so I really haven’t had to make as many saves,” Quick said. “Our shooters have been shooting the puck well, and scoring. That always helps when you know you’re getting one, pretty much at least one every time. You have a lot better chance of winning.
“That extra point is huge.”
Quick’s acumen in the shootout transfers over in the form of confidence to the Kings’ usual three shooters, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar.
“I know I wouldn’t want to see those three coming down,” Quick said.
Kopitar has had three deciding goals in the shootout and his only miss was at Carolina when he went first. Since then, the Kings have had Richards and Carter go one-two and Kopitar in the third round. They haven’t needed to go beyond that point, yet.
“I’m always the fourth shooter,” team captain Dustin Brown said with a smile.
Kings center Jarret Stoll had the gifted hand in 2010-11, going nine for 10 in shootouts. Kopitar’s career percentage is 40.3%.
“I start off good in the shootouts and drop off the last couple of years,” Kopitar said. “And this year it seems as though it’s going pretty good. Maybe a matter of switching [the order] helps and seeing what’s going on at the particular time.
“We’re just able to score. Between me, Carts and Richie, we’ve been pretty successful this year. Every shootout we’ve managed to put up two, so I think if you do that and having Quickie back there, the success rate is going to be high.”
Where: Jobing.com Arena.
On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 1150.
Record vs. Coyotes: 1-0.
Etc.: Phoenix will be without forward Martin Hanzal, who was suspended for two games for charging Edmonton defenseman Jeff Petry on Saturday night. Hanzal is considered a repeat offender. . . . Kings left wing Kyle Clifford was fined $2,756.41 on Monday by the NHL for kneeing Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins during the first period of the Kings’ 2-1 shootout win Sunday. No penalty was called on the play.