NHL: Rookie goalie maintains Kings' lofty standards

Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:56pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If a team is only as good as the quality of its backup players, then the Los Angeles Kings can lay claim to having no peers in the National Hockey League when it comes to their remarkable goaltending strength.

Jonathan Quick, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, played 16 games this season before sustaining a groin injury on November 12 which is expected to take six weeks to heal.

The absence of the inspirational Quick could have posed all sorts of problems for the Kings defense but there has been no drop-off whatsoever with either Ben Scrivens, his initial backup as goalie, or, most recently, rookie Martin Jones.

Scrivens, acquired by the Kings from the Toronto Maple Leafs in June with winger Matt Frattin and a draft pick for backup goalie Jonathan Bernier, was an instant revelation as he started out 4-0-1, helped by a two-game-plus shutout streak.

He has gone on to play in a total of 16 games this season for an overall record of 7-3-4, including a league-high save percentage of .941 and a joint-best three shutouts.

Scrivens, however, needed backup of his own to enjoy some much-needed rest after a hectic run of game action and fellow Canadian Jones has risen to the occasion in stunning fashion.

Recalled by the Kings on November 13 from the American Hockey League's Manchester Monarchs, Jones has been near impregnable in launching his league career with a perfect 6-0-0 record, the first goaltender to do so for the franchise.

The 23-year-old, a standout goalie at junior level with the Calgary Hitmen, made 24 saves against the struggling Edmonton Oilers (11-22-3) on Tuesday to complete his third shutout this season as Los Angeles eased to a 3-0 win.   Continued...

Dec 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings goalie Martin Jones (31) blocks a shot by Edmonton Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth (94) during the second period at Staples Center. Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports