The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks still hope to see consistent play from their goalies this season.
Petr Mrazek is coming off his best performance of the season for the Blackhawks, and Jonathan Quick has been mostly solid in relief in his past two appearances for the Kings.
The veteran goalies will try to build on those results and bring some stability back to the crease when Chicago hosts Los Angeles on Sunday evening.
Mrazek stopped 37 of 38 shots in a 4-1 win at the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday for his second straight win.
Those performances helped erase a dismal effort against the visiting Seattle Kraken on Jan. 14, when Mrazek stopped just one of five shots before getting replaced in an 8-5 loss.
“You just flush that (Seattle) game and move on,” Mrazek said after his win against the Flyers. “That’s how the league works. (There are) a lot of games in a short time, so sometimes you’re going to have games like that, but you have to refocus and do it again another night.”
Quick is expected to make just his second start this month, but his third against the Blackhawks this season.
He has replaced Pheonix Copley in the past two games, including Saturday night in a 5-3 loss at the Nashville Predators.
Copley allowed two goals on three shots in the first 39 seconds before Quick was sent into the game. Copley blanked the Predators for the next two periods before they scored three times in the third.
“Get on the plane and rest,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said after the game. “We’ll have meetings (Sunday) like we always do. It’s a shorter day, 6 p.m. game. The good thing about that is that (the Blackhawks) are playing the same type of schedule that we play, so there’s not much of an advantage for either team.”
Quick had stopped all seven shots he faced in a 4-0 loss to the visiting Dallas Stars on Thursday, a good indication that the veteran goalie could be finding his form after having the worst first half of his 16-year NHL career.
Quick, who turned 37 on Saturday, delivered two of his best performances of the season against the Blackhawks.
He made 17 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss in Chicago on Nov. 3, and made 31 saves in a 2-1 overtime win in Los Angeles a week later.
Overall, Quick is 16-16-3 in his career against the Blackhawks, with a 2.51 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.
Mrazek is an 11-year NHL veteran but has faced the Kings just five times, posting a 3-1-1 record, with a shutout as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 15, 2019.
Mrazek was expected to mainly back up Alex Stalock this season, but Stalock sustained a concussion in early November and missed nearly two months.
Mrazek returned to backup duties when Stalock came back just before Christmas, but Stalock went back into concussion protocol earlier this week.
“He’s a battler,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said of Mrazak. “He works hard. There’s been so many games this year where we haven’t gotten him a lot of goal support when he’s played well and kept us in the game, so it’s really nice to see a guy get rewarded.”
Jaxson Stauber made his NHL debut in goal for Chicago on Saturday night and made 29 saves in a 5-3 win at the St. Louis Blues.
–Field Level Media