As the 2012 NHL Western Conference Finals open in Glendale, Arizona, the No. 8 seed Los Angeles Kings will face the No. 3 seed Phoenix Coyotes for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. Beginning with Game 1 Sunday night in Arizona, all eyes will be on goaltenders Jonathan Quick for the Kings and Mike Smith for Phoenix.
Those two have arguably been the top two goaltenders in the NHL playoffs so far. Quick leads the NHL with a .949 save percentage during the postseason, while Smith is right behind him at .948. Quick also leads with a 1.55 goals against average, with Smith third at 1.77. Smith has two shutouts, leading all goalies, while Quick has one.
With Quick highlighting the defense for the Kings, it allows them to focus on offense, and they have scored 3.0 goals per game in the postseason after finishing 29th in the NHL in scoring during the regular season.
"We still have that main defensive base that we focus on, but with the guys getting their confidence and learning their linemates, that's why we're putting more pucks in the net," defenseman Drew Doughty told NHL.com.
Quick has faced 30.4 shots per game, while Smith has been relatively bombarded at 36.4 shots per contest. If the Kings can keep the pressure on Smith like they did against both Vancouver and St. Louis, the Kings could find their way in the Stanley Cup Finals.
For more news and notes on the Kings or the NHL Western Conference Finals, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.