Jonathan Quick could have sworn he heard a whistle. By the time he realized otherwise, Torey Krug had a mostly open net with the puck on his stick.
Krug shot, Quick lunged — and the puck caught just enough of the Kings’ vaunted goalie to keep his latest shutout intact.
Quick made 31 saves in his 34th career shutout, carrying Los Angeles to a 2-0 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.
Tanner Pearson scored in the first period and Tyler Toffoli added an empty-net goal with 49.6 seconds left for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who earned their NHL-best 11th home victory with the type of strong defensive effort that has been the foundation of their two titles.
Quick made his most mind-blowing save with about 11 minutes to play when a weird rebound and Quick’s late reaction left a golden opportunity for Krug. Instead, Quick recovered just fast enough, deflecting the puck off the post with his lunging torso.
“He looked like he was winding up with some purpose, so I figured I had to get over there,” Quick said. “Sometimes the puck hits you, and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Although Quick is among the NHL’s leaders in save percentage during a standout season, the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner hadn’t blanked an opponent in nearly six weeks. He set the Kings’ franchise record for career shutouts with two in October, and put together a vintage effort while holding down the slumping Bruins.
Quick improved to 10-1-1 in his last 12 home games with a 1.17 goals-against average, a .958 save percentage and three shutouts.
“The guy is unbelievable,” said defenseman Alec Martinez, who returned from a seven-game injury absence. “That save he made in the third (on Krug), I’m biased, but I think he’s the best goalie in the world. He just never quits on pucks.”
Niklas Svedberg stopped 33 shots, but Boston has scored just six goals while losing four of its last five games.
Still without injured veteran stars Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, the Bruins opened a tough four-game Pacific Division road trip with a one-goal loss at Anaheim one night earlier.
“We’re doing a good job defensively, so we’ve got to stick to doing that,” Svedberg said. “Obviously, we want to score as many goals as we can, but we can’t let go of the defensive part, which is looking pretty good right now.”
Boston’s power play hasn’t scored in eight games, and the Bruins didn’t even get a power play against the Kings, who committed only one penalty. The Bruins were shut out for the second time in five games.
“It’s hard to criticize the effort of this hockey club, because we did really well,” Boston coach Claude Julien said. “But we’re not getting any calls at all going our way, and it’s frustrating to see the amount of time we could have had a power play. But they’re choosing not to call them. Everybody has to be accountable in this league.”
Svedberg was solid in just his second start since Nov. 13 for the Bruins, and he allowed nothing during a 5-on-3 Kings advantage for 1:26 during the first period.
Pearson put the Kings ahead moments later with a quick shot off a clever pass from Anze Kopitar, who ended his own five-game scoring drought. Pearson leads the Kings with 10 goals despite a prolonged struggle last month that led to the breakup of That 70s Line, his productive combination with Toffoli and Jeff Carter formed during last season’s championship run.
NOTES: Marian Gaborik missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. The Slovak wing has missed 10 games already this season with injuries. … The Bruins dressed D Kevan Miller, a Los Angeles-area native, and scratched D Joe Morrow. … The Kings lead the NHL with 23 home points.