If the Kings' first-round playoff series against San Jose does not become Jonathan Quick's showcase, if the 25-year-old goaltender does not dominate the seventh-seeded Kings' matchup against the second-seeded Sharks starting Thursday at HP Pavilion, it will be a quick series for the Kings, and not in a good way. "He's the focal point of everything," Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi said. "Every team that's ever won the Stanley Cup has always had a goalie who's either been great all season or turned it on in the postseason, and he'll have to be our best player." Quick would have had to be exceptional even if the Kings' offense hadn't lost most of its cleverness when right wing Justin Williams suffered a dislocated shoulder March 21 and center Anze Kopitar wrecked his ankle five days later. Williams said Wednesday he's ready for the opener, welcome news for a team that in its final seven games scored one power-play goal and 11 total. Williams, whose linemates will be determined in Thursday's morning skate, gets a restrictive harness and respect for playing while he's one mean check away from an operating table. "I'm an important part of this team offensively and if I feel I can help the team, which I know I can, I'm going to tell the coach I can play," said Williams, who had 22 goals and 57 points in 73 games. He did, though his effectiveness will be in question. "He'll have an impact in the sense that he's an offensive player who can hold onto pucks in the offensive zone. That's a part of our game, the cycle game," Coach Terry Murray said. "We take a lot of pride in that area of the offensive part of the game and he's going to add to it because of his creativity." But it's the defensive part of the game that was and must remain their strength against the Pacific Division champion Sharks. The Kings' best chance to succeed will be to play 1-0 or 2-1 games, to smother the seven Sharks who scored 20 or more goals — a feat done by six Kings — and to sustain a cohesive team defense. In other words, they won't change much strategically. "We're not a very offensive team and we rely on our defense. Obviously we have to do a good job in front of [Quick] and give him easy shots and get guys out of the way for him," defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're fully confident he's going to be huge for us.
Jonathan Quick is key for Kings in goal against the Sharks
Los Angeles Times | Apr 14