Dave Thorpe The Hockey Writers
Kings’ 5 Best Goalie Tandems
The Los Angeles Kings have had game-changing goalkeepers in the team’s history, including Rogie Vachon, Kelly Hrudey and Jonathan Quick. But who came closest to mastering the dubious act of becoming a great backup netminder? Who played the meanest second fiddle and complemented an exceptional No. 1 goaltender?
What Kings goalie duos register as the franchise’s top five of all-time?
5. Kelly Hrudey and Daniel Berthiaume
Look no further than the 1990-91 season to appreciate what these two were able to accomplish together. The veteran Kelly Hrudey went 26-13-6 with a 2.90 goals-against average (GAA) and a .900 save percentage (SV%). Daniel Berthiaume was a journeyman goalie having one of his best seasons, going 20-11-4 with a 3.31 GAA and an .892 SV%.
The duo helped the Kings (46-24-10) win the Smythe Division. Los Angeles beat the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Edmonton Oilers in the second round. Hrudey handled all of the goaltending duties in the postseason and was sharp, going 6-6 with a 2.78 GAA and a .903 SV%.
Hrudey and Berthiaume teamed up the following season as well and combined for 33 wins. During the 1992-93 season, Hrudey went on to help the Kings reach their first Stanley Cup Final. The Kings lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens.
4. Rogie Vachon and Gary Edwards
The duo shared time in the net from the 1971-72 season to the 1976-77 season for the Kings, with Rogie Vachon the starter in all but their first season together and Gary Edwards the backup. Vachon was the Kings’ top goaltender for most of the 1970s, spearheading the organization’s effort of going from expansion team to (occasionally) a winning team. Vachon was 171-148-66 as a King with a 2.86 GAA and a .901 SV%.
Edwards was 54-68-22, a 3.39 GAA and an .890 SV% with the Kings.
The tandem really shined during the 1974-75 regular season, when the Kings finished with the fourth-best record in the league (42-17-21). The tandem showed what they could do with a strong defense.
Vachon was 27-14-13 with six shutouts, a 2.24 GAA and a .927 SV% that season. Edwards was 15-3-8 with three shutouts, a 2.34 GAA and a .916 SV%. Like with any self-respecting backup goalie having a big season, Edwards’ numbers were good, but not quite as good as the No. 1.
3. Felix Potvin and Jamie Storr
Felix Potvin, or “Felix the Cat,” came to the Kings from the Canucks during the 2000-01 season. Even though his impressive career was nearing its twilight, the former Toronto Maple Leaf quickly showed he still had the reflexes to excel. He took over No. 1 goalie duties from Jamie Storr. Potvin was a workhorse during the 2001-02 season, going 31-27-8 with a 2.31 GAA and a .907 SV%. Storr was 9-4-3 with a 1.90 GAA and a .922 SV% in providing stellar relief.
The duties were split up much more evenly during the 2002-03 campaign when the Cat had a 2.66 GAA in 42 games played and Storr had a 2.55 GAA in 39 games played. Storr had starting experience to lean on as a backup, and Potvin was a savvy veteran capable of putting a team on his shoulders, making for a very strong duo.
2. Jonathan Quick and Martin Jones
These two goaltending barons shared the nets for two seasons, including the 2013-14 Stanley Cup season. Jonathan Quick went 27-17-4 with a 2.07 GAA and a .915 SV%. Jones was 12-6-0 with a 1.81 GAA and a .934 SV%. Martin Jones was considered too good to remain a backup and went to the San Jose Sharks, by way of the Boston Bruins, where he has won 30 or more games for four consecutive seasons. But for a short time, the Kings had a star goalie in Quick and a star-in-the-making with Jones.
1. Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier
Quick and Jonathan Bernier were a tandem for several years, with Quick grabbing the starting job right away and refusing to relinquish it. Bernier always was a solid backup, but some years didn’t see a ton of action. The two goalies best served each other during the 2010-11 season, which is to say, Bernier actually saw ice time. Quick went 35-22-3 with a 2.24 GAA and a .918 SV%, while Bernier went 11-8-3 with a 2.48 GAA and a .913 SV%.
Bernier saw ice time in 25 regular-season games, giving Quick more rest than he’s accustomed to. The following season the Kings won their first-ever Stanley Cup behind the duo, with Quick remaining too hot throughout the playoffs to leave the net, going 16-4 with a 1.41 GAA and a .946 SV%.
The extra rest during the regular season paid off for Quick during the long, high-intensity playoff run. Bernier shined when he got his chances, while Quick rested or recovered from an injury.
While Quick and Bernier are the gold standard for the Kings, many duos had success together in Los Angeles. Goalkeeping duos who received top-five consideration but didn’t make it include Hrudey and Robb Stauber, Stephane Fiset with Storr, Mario Lessard with Ron Graham and Roman Cechmanek with Cristobal Huet. But, like in most Kings goaltending categories, Quick leads the charge in this one with Bernier riding shotgun.
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