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Kings feed off Jonathan Quick's confidence to gear up for playoffs

Maybe it took going to Sochi for the Winter Olympics and getting out of the grinding day-to-day NHL routine to get a slightly different look at the abilities of goalie Jonathan Quick.

After all, Kings captain Dustin Brown has been there through the evolution of Quick's career, starting when Quick was one of seven goalies to play for the Kings in the rough 2007-08 season and hitting the top rung when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 with Quick as the playoff most valuable player.

"What was fun is going to the Olympics and watching other guys react, on Team USA," Brown said of Quick's performances in Russia. "They're saying: 'Really?' "

The Kings play at San Jose in Game 1 of the playoffs Thursday night, and it will be the 51st playoff game of Quick's career. In what is considered a toss-up series, the Kings hold the advantage in goal over the Sharks, whose starter Antti Niemi struggled during the stretch run. It does appear, however, Niemi will get the nod over Alex Stalock in the opener.

For the Kings, their goalie crisis came long before April. Quick suffered an injured groin in November and missed nearly eight weeks, but backup Ben Scrivens (since traded to Edmonton) and rookie Martin Jones kept the season from going south. Quick returned in January, started five of six games at the Olympics and later won the NHL's William M. Jennings Trophy, given to "the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it."

Brown was talking about the line between confidence and arrogance, and described how Quick sets the tone for the veteran-heavy Kings by trending toward the first quality.

"It's more of the same with Quickie," Brown said. "It's just the type of confidence he exudes, really. It's a trickle-down effect. When you have a goalie who is not arrogant but very confident, it goes a long way in the demeanor of the whole team.

"Quickie's quiet. He'll make a glove save and he won't do the big 'I-saved the puck' [flourish]. I guess that's the only way I can explain it. He'll make a save that he has no business making and he'll act like it's a routine save."

Including what was considered by many to be the save of the season, on Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets at Staples Center on March 29. Quick was down, on his belly, and raised his leg to make an incredible kick save.

"The Scorpion Kick or whatever they call it," Brown said. "It's like that. Saves like that he shouldn't make. He doesn't make a big deal about it. But if you're looking from the other team, you're like: 'Did he really just make that?'

"I'm used to that. I've played with Quickie his whole career."

On top of that, Quick is, well, quick to snap the door shut on the past. It is seemingly his mantra to start talking about the next game on the schedule as soon as possible. He did just that after Saturday's regular-season finale against the Ducks, turning his focus to the Sharks and the playoffs.

"The intensity goes up in big games for Quickie," Brown said. "A lot of our guys are built the same way. He's one of those guys who hates losing more than he likes winning. When you have that type of attitude when the games are bigger and the games are on the line that's when those type of players come through."

Said Quick: "This is the best time of the year. It's something you look forward to in August, or July. You're working out and you're looking forward to this time of year."

Etc.

The Kings made one roster move before the playoffs, recalling forward Linden Vey from their American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H.

Vey practiced with the Kings on Wednesday in El Segundo before they departed for San Jose. He had five assists in 18 games with the Kings this season.

"You know what: You want to go in with as much man power as you can," Kings Coach Darryl Sutter said. "We brought Linden back and that was important. You want to have as many healthy guys as you can going in."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

Twitter.com: @reallisa

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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