With the win, the Kings take a 2-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils, and have now won 10 consecutive road games in the 2012 playoffs.
Barring a Devils comeback, it will be the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy. Even if the Kings fail to hoist the Stanley Cup, Quick’s remarkable play makes him a strong contender to win the award for the NHL playoffs' MVP.
Quick is 14-2 with a 1.44 goals-against average, a .947 save percentage and two shutouts. At 40 years old, Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur has been good, but not great. Brodeur is 12-7 with a 2.00 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage and one shutout.
Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are also serious candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
They have posted identical statistics through 16 games and currently sit tied for third in playoff scoring. They’ve each registered seven goals and nine assists for 16 points and are a plus-14, playing on the Kings’ top line.
Given their equally great offensive performances, voters will have a tough time choosing between Brown and Kopitar. That leaves the door open for Jonathan Quick to garner the majority of the votes.
History also appears to be on Quick’s side.
Since the lockout, every forward who has won the Conn Smythe Trophy has averaged well over a point per game in the playoffs. Brown and Kopitar are currently averaging exactly one point per game.
Quick is also on pace to post better numbers than each of the last three Conn Smythe-winning goaltenders.
Last year Bruins' goaltender Tim Thomas posted a 1.98 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. The Hurricanes’ Cam Ward won the Conn Smythe in 2006 with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere led the seventh seeded Anaheim Ducks on a Cinderella run through the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs. Although the Ducks lost in Game 7 of the finals to the Devils, Giguere won the Conn Smythe with a staggering 1.62 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage.
Having let in more than two goals only twice in these playoffs, there is no reason to believe Quick will falter against the Devils.
If Quick maintains his current pace he should easily win the Conn Smythe Trophy. In fact, Quick could be remembered as having one of the most dominant postseasons in NHL history.
Last year Tim Thomas became the first goaltender since the Philadelphia Flyers' Bernie Parent in 1975 to win the Vezina, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophies in the same season.
We may not have to wait long for that feat to be accomplished once again.