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National Hockey League

Odd Man Rush: Struggles could come 'Quick' for Kings

By Michael Rushton, NHL Contributing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - In addition to being a high-level performer, goaltender Jonathan Quick has proven to be quite durable as well.

That fact had to be in the forefront of Dean Lombardi's mind when the Los Angeles Kings general manager opted to deal sought-after backup Jonathan Bernier to the Toronto Maple Leafs this past offseason for a pair of players and a future second-round draft pick, capitalizing on a surplus in net.

Of course, what goes up must come down and Lombardi was left with an "of course that happened" moment when Quick was diagnosed this week with a Grade 2 groin strain after exiting Tuesday's shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres during the overtime period.

It is unknown exactly how long Quick will be out, but the good news is surgery won't be necessary. Speculation and past history seem to indicate the former Conn Smythe winner could miss up to six weeks.

But just what kind of shape will the Kings be in by then? The Pacific Division is shaping up to be a contested one, with Anaheim, San Jose, Phoenix and Vancouver all in the mix early.

Few teams can afford to lose a player the caliber of Quick for any length of time, but his absence puts further pressure on a defense that was expected to pick up the slack given that forward Jeff Carter is out with a reported foot fracture.

According to the LA Times, Carter could miss another 3-to-6 weeks of action.

So, that leaves the Kings without their top goaltender and a former 40-goal scorer in Carter, who netted 26 goals in 48 games a season ago.

Darryl Sutter has turned to some younger players in Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli to help on the offensive side of things, while Ben Scrivens will be tasked with holding down the fort in net.

Scrivens was one of two players acquired along with forward Matt Frattin from Toronto for Bernier. Most importantly, he is not Jonathan Quick.

Scrivens, though, passed his first test in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night. He made 23 saves, including all three he faced in the third period, when the Kings scored all of their goals for a comeback victory.

"It's important to win every game. That's the biggest thing with this team, this organization, this coaching staff," said Scrivens. "It's a meritocracy, for sure. So you've got to take advantage when you get a chance. I'm really fortunate that the guys came through for myself and for the team big time in the third."

Scrivens has had limited chances to show his merit in the past. The 27-year- old made 32 starts with Toronto the previous two seasons and had a chance to earn the No. 1 spot a season ago, but went 7-9-0 with a 2.69 goals against average and .915 save percentage in 20 games.

However, mixed into that span was back-to-back shutouts and a scoreless streak of 151 minutes, 46 seconds.

Scrivens has gone 2-1-1 with a shutout and 1.92 GAA in six games this season, a small sample and one that will be tested over the next few weeks.

Sutter, though, is making sure his club doesn't hit the panic button due to Quick's injury.

"We're not a high-low team," Sutter said following the win over the Isles. "That's why we're a good hockey club. It doesn't mean you win every night."

But for a Los Angeles club with high expectations, Scrivens will need to be in top form more nights than not.

11/15 13:57:35 ET

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