American goalie named MVP of NHL playoffs

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American goalie named MVP of NHL playoffs

From Comcast SportsNet
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Jonathan Quick and Martin Brodeur hugged and exchanged a few private words in the Stanley Cup finals handshake line. Brodeur was welcoming Quick to the club. The Los Angeles Kings' quiet goalie is an NHL champion and one of hockey's elite puck-stoppers after a postseason that even Brodeur never matched. Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP on Monday night after yielding just 29 goals in the Kings' 20 playoff games on the way to their first title. Quick allowed a mere seven goals in six games in the finals, capping a breakthrough season for the Vezina Trophy finalist who kept the Kings competitive while they were the NHL's lowest-scoring team for much of the regular season. "I congratulated him," Brodeur said. "I said he deserved the honor of winning the Stanley Cup and being the goalie to win the Stanley Cup. It's always kind of nice for young players to relate. I tried to tell him it was important to enjoy this, because you never know when you're going to get back. I'm 40, and I was able to get back there and not win it. But there's a big (summer) ahead of him, that's for sure." Quick is severely allergic to praise, and he directed everything back at the teammates who made him a champion. But his playoff performance has marked him as one of the world's best, and the Kings' fans will never forget it. "I think it's all about competing," Quick said. "You have to compete, always. That's something this organization preaches, and it makes us all feel so good to be on top now." Quick then thoroughly dominated the playoffs, posting three shutouts and leading the league in pretty much every statistical category among goalies who started at least four games. He was largely impenetrable in the finals, stopping 125 of 132 shots -- and two of New Jersey's seven goals against him deflected off Quick's teammate, Slava Voynov. Quick is the second straight goalie to win the award, but had better numbers than Boston's Tim Thomas last season. They might be the best in NHL history. With a 1.41 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in the postseason, Quick even set NHL records for goalies who played at least 15 postseason games. Quick's stats slid under Chris Osgood's 1.51 GAA for Detroit in 2008 and Jean-Sebastien Giguere's .945 save percentage for Anaheim in 2003. "It's outstanding," Quick said. "I couldn't be more proud of this group. We had to fight for everything. Nothing was given to us." Brodeur allowed just one goal apiece in regulation in four of the six finals games, but couldn't match Quick's numbers. Quick is sometimes compared to the three-time champion, another star puck-stopper who doesn't adhere to one particular school or style. Quick also had plenty to say to Brodeur. "I told him the game won't be the same if he retires," Quick said. "It was an honor just playing against him at this stage." Brodeur could only smile. "He wanted to make sure I don't retire," he said. "I guess he likes beating me." The Conn Smythe is a fitting finish for the 26-year-old Quick, who had 35 wins, a 1.95 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and a franchise-record 10 shutouts despite playing for the NHL's second lowest-scoring team. Quick has been the Kings' best player and backbone all season, frequently carrying them through long stretches of mediocre skating and shooting. His stellar effort was the main reason the Kings were even close to playoff position in late February, when the lowest-scoring team at the time finally awoke its slumbering offense by trading for power forward Jeff Carter, who scored two goals in the finale. Quick earned his first All-Star berth for his steady excellence despite a stunning number of 1-0, 2-0 and 2-1 losses this season. With an offense generating consistent goals since March, he has been nearly unbeatable, going 28-8-2 since Feb. 25. While some will note the remarkably low scoring totals across the NHL playoffs when evaluating Quick's records, others will cite Quick as one of the main reasons for it. Quick has better numbers than any goalie in recent playoff history -- and Quick looks nothing like most of the NHL's best netminders. He disdains the butterfly for his own unique style, and he played it to perfection this spring. Most hockey minds' best comparison is Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk, whose low-to-the-ice style is the closest thing to Quick's agile, flexible puck-stopping strategy. He plays low and wide while his peers generally stand tall, using his aggression, anticipation and pure hustle to stop pucks. Quick's teammates know he's locked in when he's crouching nearly parallel to the ice to watch the puck through his opponents' legs. He calls it "less style, more compete," and he praises the technique adjustments of Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford, another Conn Smythe winner with Edmonton in 1990. Quick's success has been a product of determination, because nobody expected spectacular things out of the kid from Hamden, Conn., who grew up idolizing the Rangers' Mike Richter. One of his earliest hockey memories is being at home with friends in 1994 when Richter backstopped New York to its first title in 54 years.

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Nats fall to Diamondbacks after Wilson Ramos leaves with injury

Nats fall to Diamondbacks after Wilson Ramos leaves with injury

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 14-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: The Nationals have little to gain at this point in the regular season with their division locked up and their playoff opponent set. They do, though, have plenty to lose.

The Nationals lost 14-4 to the Diamondbacks on Monday night, but more important was the exit of All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos with an apparent right leg injury in the sixth inning. He fell down on a throw to home and grabbed the same knee that he had his ACL and MCL repaired in back in 2012. It happened on a wet field after a 20-minute rain delay.

Before Ramos went down, the game was already out of hand. Nats starter Tanner Roark made it just four innings with five earned runs allowed. The Nats got it to 5-4 before the Diamondbacks added five more runs in the sixth inning off reliever Yusmeiro Petit.

Jean Segura and Yasmany Tomas both homered off Roark in the fourth inning. Tomas then got the five-run rally started in the sixth with a two-RBI double off Petit in the sixth. Mitch Haniger added a two-run bomb off Petit later in the frame. Segura then homered again with a two-run shot off Lucas Giolito in the eighth. Jake Lamb then hit another off Giolito to make it 13-4, the fifth homer for Arizona on the night. That's a season-high allowed by the Nats.

The Diamondbacks then got another run, their 14th, on a groundout by Chris Owings in the top of the ninth. That came against Giolito, who walked off the mound with a 6.75 ERA through 21 1/3 big league innings.

The Nats got their first run on an RBI triple by Brian Goodwin in the second inning. The rookie brought in another on a walk with the bases loaded. 

Trea Turner doubled home two more runs in the fourth on his second of three hits on the night. It was Turner's 32nd multi-hit game of the season and his 11th time with three hits or more. That effort helped bounce Diamondbacks starter Archie Bradley after 3 2/3 innings with four runs allowed on six hits and four walks.

The Nationals have lost five of their last eight games. This was their first defeat to the Diamondbacks in 2016 after sweeping them in Arizona back in August.

What it means: The Nats dropped to 91-65 on the year and now lead the Dodgers by just one game in their race for home field advantage in the NL Division Series. 

Roark not at his best: Roark was off to a brilliant start through three innings with no baserunners allowed and five strikeouts. But he quickly found trouble in the fourth inning with the solo homer by Segura. He later allowed an RBI single to Brandon Drury and then the three-run bomb to Tomas. 

It was Roark's shortest start since June 5 against the Reds. He also only went four innings in his season debut on April 7. Generally, Roark can be counted on to go deep in starts. But after giving up five runs in one inning, the Nats had seen enough. Roark only threw 70 pitches before he was lifted by manager Dusty Baker. It was also in part due to an opportunity Baker saw for a pinch-hitter, with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth. The Nats were down 5-2 with one out, so Baker called on Chris Heisey to bat. He ended up striking out on a pitch that just barely caught the outer edge of the plate.

Roark is still searching for his 16th win after taking a loss in his last start against the Marlins. He should have one more opportunity on Saturday to get No. 16, which would be a career-high. 

Drew keeps producing: Stephen Drew left the Nats in late July with vertigo-like symptoms after establishing himself as their best bench player and one of the best bench players in baseball. He's returned even better. With a double, a walk and two runs on Monday, Drew is now 10-for-28 (.357) with three doubles, eight runs and six walks in 15 games. He's batting .282 on the season, which is impressive for a guy who gets sparing at-bats. Drew has been a perfect temporary fill-in for Daniel Murphy in the last few days and he could play a very important role in the playoffs as the Nats' first bench off the bench.

Petit struggles again: Maybe this is why we didn't see Petit more than once from Aug. 27 to Sept. 23. He hasn't been effective in either of the two outings he's made in the last four days. On Sept. 23, he gave up a run in 2/3 of an inning against the Pirates. And on Monday he allowed five runs in four innings. Petit was signed to be the team's longman and they know what he's capable off in October. But he has not been effective in months now. Petit has allowed 19 earned runs in his last 18 2/3 innings going back to July 30.

Goodwin is heating up: Drew's spot on the postseason roster is safe, Goodwin's is not. But Goodwin has been making it very, very interesting lately and now looks to be on the bubble with an outside chance of playing in October. Goodwin drove in the Nats' first run with his first career triple. He also collected another RBI by drawing a walk against Bradley with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Goodwin is now batting .333 on the year. It's only through 18 games, but he's clearly making an impact.

Up next: The Nats and Diamondbacks play the second of their four-game series. Tuesday night will be a 7:05 p.m. first pitch with Max Scherzer (18-7, 2.82) on the mound. The D'Backs have not announced their starter.

[RELATED: Wilson Ramos exits Nats game vs. D'Backs with injury]

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Capitals forced overtime but couldn't keep up against Hurricanes in preseason opener

Capitals forced overtime but couldn't keep up against Hurricanes in preseason opener

Post-game analysis of the Capitals’ preseason opening loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, 2-1 in overtime, on Monday night at Verizon Center:

How it happened: Prospect Madison Bowey scored on the power play with 6:02 left to play to force overtime and give the Capitals’ prospect heavy-lineup a chance. But Justin Faulk rifled a shot past Drew MacIntyre on the power play to lift the Hurricanes with seven seconds remaining in the extra session. Carolina’s first goal was scored by Patrick Brown, who ripped a shot over Vitek Vanecek’s glove with 18 seconds left in the first period.

What it means: The storyline to watch is the injury suffered by Tom Wilson late in the second period. The Capitals said the big winger suffered an upper body injury and would not return for precautionary reasons. Although it was not immediately clear when Wilson got hurt, he did catch a shoulder from Jordan Staal with 3:18 remaining in the middle frame. Staal was whistled for elbowing and Wilson glided to the bench and took a seat. It should be noted that Staal and Wilson had been jawing at one another for much of the game.

Halfsies: Vanecek stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced, including a couple of big pad stops on the penalty kill in the first period. Overall, the 2014 second-round pick was mostly solid in his NHL debut but has work to do on his rebound control. Vanecek was replaced by Drew MacIntyre midway through the second period. MacIntyre, meantime, finished with 14 stops, including three in the extra session.

Anticipated debut: 2016 first rounder Lucas Johansen had a solid pro debut skating alongside veteran Taylor Chorney. Johansen, the 28th overall pick in June, skated 19:06. He finished with one shot, one hit and a minor penalty. Best word to sum up his performance? Uneventful, which is meant as a compliment for a rookie defenseman making his NHL debut.  

A-Team: With Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, associate coach Todd Reirden handed out three alternate captain ‘A’s — to Orpik, Wilson and Jay Beagle. Orpik wore an ‘A’ last season; Wilson is expected to take on a bigger role on and off the ice this season; and Beagle is a hardworking, heart-and-soul guy.   

Inside the box score: Prospect Nathan Walker finished with a game-high six hits in 13:18 of ice time.

Look ahead: The Capitals face the Canadiens in Montreal on Tuesday night. Some of the players who suited up against the Hurricanes also might make the trip to Bell Centre, but Reirden said final decision on a lineup wouldn’t be made until after the coaches meet after Monday’s game. “For sure some players will play back-to-back games,” Reirden said before the game. “But we want to see how things go in terms of what people do with their opportunity. That’s the beauty of training camp.” 

RELATED: Tom Wilson left Carolina game in the second period with an injury