The 2012 Los Angeles Kings are a team of destiny, and no player controls that destiny more than goaltender Jonathan Quick. The 26-year-old has been stellar so far in these playoffs, and his performance has only built upon what was a strong regular season.
He is one of the three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, the winner of which will be announced on June 20.
Whether Quick wins the Vezina or not, I believe he will have two trophies to hoist before then.
The Kings are a better team than the New Jersey Devils, and much of that is because of Quick's consistency.
Even as this team and its talented core hit some bumpy roads in the regular season (e.g. losing streaks of six and four early on), Quick stayed the course. With players like Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, the team underachieved by barely making it into the playoffs as an eighth seed.
They collectively righted the ship in time for the playoffs, and now they are four wins away from the ultimate prize.
Los Angeles is 12-2 in the postseason, and Quick has been a beast in almost all 12 wins. He has surrendered more than two goals in only one of the Kings' playoff victories, and that was in the OT closeout game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
What player will win the Conn Smythe Trophy?
His counterpart is legend and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur, but Quick has performed better than Marty this season, a trend which has continued throughout the playoffs. Brodeur's play has been up-and-down, and he was even benched during the Devils' Game 3 loss to the Florida Panthers in the opening round.
This series is going to be decided by the goaltenders, and right now Quick is playing as well as anyone. He is doing what great players are supposed to, and that is raising his game in the postseason.
He already had a solid 1.99 goals against average in the regular season, but in the playoffs he has truly stood on his head. His 1.54 goals against average is the biggest reason the Kings are in the Stanley Cup Final.
It is his play that will lead them to victory.
When the series is over, the Kings will bring a Stanley Cup to their battered, but faithful fanbase, and Quick will take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the postseason.
The engravers might as well ready their tools to inscribe his name.
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