The biggest contrast between the bicoastal Stanley Cup finalists is not the matchup of Wall Street and Hollywood. Instead, it is the difference in styles between two of the National Hockey League’s top goaltenders.
New York’s Henrik Lundqvist usually staying deep in his net. Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick is more aggressive, often ranging far from his goal.
Quick and the Kings have a two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven series after consecutive overtime victories in Los Angeles, with the series moving across the country to New York’s Madison Square Garden for Game 3 tonight.
“Lundqvist focuses on always being in the middle of the net with little movement,” goalie consultant Eli Wilson said in an e-mail interview. “Quick plays with the most flow of any goaltender in the game. He is constantly adapting and adjusting his body in the net. His ability to move a large distance is second to none.”
Lundqvist paid the price in Game 2 when he came out of his net in the second period. He made a save, but slipped while trying to get back to the net and the Kings’ Jarret Stoll knocked the loose puck past him into the goal.
The Rangers goalie says he and Quick are “kind of opposites.”
“He’s one of the best in the league, he’s so athletic,” Lundqvist told reporters before the series began. “He’s more like a gymnast out there, he’s so aggressive. I tend to stay back more in my net.”
Though Lundqvist has lost both games so far in the series, he has faced far more shots than Quick. The Kings outshot the Rangers 87-65 in the two games in Los Angeles.
The Kings won Game 2 in double overtime two days ago when Dustin Brown deflected a puck past Lundqvist on the Kings’ 44th shot of the evening.
Both goalies made tough stops in overtime, including Quick’s game-saving move on a breakaway by Chris Kreider in the first extra period. Quick also had stopped the Rangers’ Brad Richards from right in front of his net in the third period.
Quick’s 90.6 save percentage during the 2014 postseason is well below his 93.4 percent in last year’s playoffs or the 94.6 percent he posted while leading the Kings to the Stanley Cup title in 2012.
“When you get to this point, it’s not about stats,” Quick told reporters after the Game 2 victory. “It’s not about statistics any time, to be honest.”
Lundqvist, 32, from Sweden, won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 as the NHL’s top goalie. He holds Rangers records for regular-season wins (309) and postseason victories (42) in nine seasons with the team.
Quick, 28, a native of Milford, Connecticut, who is in his seventh season with the Kings, has 176 regular-season wins and 43 playoff victories.
“He’s a confident goaltender, we have a lot of confidence in him,” Los Angeles forward Kyle Clifford said after Game 1. “We know he’s going to make a couple of big saves every night for us.”
Though their save statistics have been consistently close over the past three years, Lundqvist was significantly better than Quick this season in dealing with shorthanded situations.
While Lundqvist saved 88.9 percent of the shots he faced while the Rangers were killing off power plays during the regular season, Quick was successful in 86.6 percent of such situations.
New York defenseman Ryan McDonagh said that discrepancy can be explained by the difference in the goalies’ styles.
“When you look at power plays, when you score a goal it’s not necessarily the first shot, it’s the second one that goes off to the side or the third one that hits a defenseman and goes off to the side,” McDonagh said. “The way (Lundqvist) plays, his style, he’s deeper in the net, a little more patient, he gives himself maybe an opportunity to get to that second or third save.”
Wilson, who works with NHL goalies including Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins, said neither Lundqvist nor Quick will change his approach after the first two games of the series.
“They are both very strong mentally and are able to move on from tough games,” he said from his goalie school in Edmonton, Alberta. “They also take a lot of pride in the position.”