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NHL PLAYOFFS

NHL playoffs: Ranking the 2013 goaltenders

By Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

When Jonathan Quick went under the knife last summer, there were humourous suggestions on Twitter that he required back surgery because he had overused it to carry the Los Angeles Kings to Stanley Cup triumph.

Joking aside, the notion may not have been that far from the truth.

Showing that you don’t need a previous lengthy playoff run on your resume in order to lead your team to hockey’s Holy Grail, Quick turned in one of the modern game’s most spectacular post-season performances by a goaltender. Indeed, if you want to know how the Kings captured their first NHL championship in franchise history, look no further than Quick’s 1.41 goals-against average and .946 save percentage – remarkable playoff numbers.

In the process, Quick showed that a hot goalie, however inexperienced he might be in playoff hockey, can carry a team deep into the post-season.

Keep this in mind: The past three Cup-winning goalies – Quick (Kings, 2012), Tim Thomas (Bruins, 2011) and Antti Niemi (Blackhawks, 2010) – had never been to a conference final prior to the year in which they backstopped their respective teams to a Stanley Cup.

Quick’s Kings open up the 2013 playoffs in defence of their title with a matchup against the St. Louis Blues.

“They’ve got some big forwards, strong forwards, and they go hard to the net,” Quick said.

While that might be the case, Quick, with his surgically-repaired back, can handle it. Last year is evidence of that.

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