Knights, Kings goalies add star power to playoff series

Updated April 10, 2018 - 9:15 pm

Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Quick had a hand in five of the past nine Stanley Cups, but the goaltenders never met in the finals.

Now that Fleury is in the Western Conference with the Golden Knights, the two all-stars could cross paths more often.

With the Stanley Cup playoffs ready to begin this week, no opening-round series features more star power in net than the one between the Knights and Quick’s Los Angeles Kings.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 series begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena.

“I still want to win more Cups, and the playoffs are the most fun to play in,” Fleury said. “I was looking forward to the challenge, to come here and as a team prove people wrong and make it to the playoffs.”

Fleury enjoyed a career season with the Knights at age 33 after he lost the starting job in Pittsburgh and was left unprotected in the expansion draft.

Despite missing two months after a concussion Oct. 13 against Detroit, Fleury went 29-13-4 and set career bests in save percentage (.927) and goals-against average (2.24).

“When we got him in the expansion draft, we knew what we had,” Knights coach Gerard Gallant said. “A guy with the experience that he has, he’s going to help our players and he’s going to keep our players loose. I’m sure that’s how Pittsburgh’s done it and he’s going to be a great guy for our young team to go out there and get a lot of confidence.”

Fleury led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2009 and was the No. 2 goalie behind Matt Murray the past two seasons when Pittsburgh won back-to-back titles.

He is 62-51 with a 2.65 goals-against average the postseason. His victories are 13th best in postseason history, one behind Curtis Joseph.

“I think it helps when you have a good team. The guys in front of you help a lot,” Fleury said. “You’ve got to be able to have a short memory throughout the playoffs, through the bad and good. When the game’s over, you’ve got to move on quick to the next one and whatever happened, if you let in five (goals) or zero, I think it’s important that (you) battle through it.”

Quick was 33-28-3 with a 2.40 GAA in the regular season and won the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is given to the goaltender(s) whose team allows the fewest goals against.

He backstopped the Kings to the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014 and is 4-0 in his career in Game 7s.

“I think they’re really ultra-competitive guys, so I think when you combine those two things, you’re going to get goalies that are capable of great performances and being difference-makers in series,” Los Angeles coach John Stevens said.

“They both won multiple Cups. They’ve both got a ton of experience in the league. They’re both athletic guys, and I don’t know Fleury that well, but everything I’ve seen, I think Jonny and Fleury are both really good teammates.

“They’ve got a lot of the same attributes. I think when you have a goalie that’s a really good teammate, you have a team that plays really hard for them, and it certainly seems like that’s the case for both of those guys.”

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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