stuhackel
Tuesday December 14th, 2010

Facing 51 Red Wings shots kept Kings goalie Jonathan Quick on top of his game. (Steven King/Icon SMI)

By Stu Hackel

If there's been a better goaltending performance this season than Jonathan Quick's 51-save shutout of the Red Wings in Detroit on Monday night, it must have been somewhere other than in the NHL.

Just a couple of days after these shaky moments against the Wild...

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...the Kings' Quick redeemed himself with stops like this one...

"The way that game ended up, it was a bit disappointing,'' Quick told Rich Hammond of the Kings website, referring to his 3-2 loss to Minnesota in overtime. "I was looking forward to getting back out and kind of putting that game in the past and playing another game.''

He did that alright, stopping 26 shots in the second period alone. "He was in a zone," Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard told Helene St. James of The Detroit Free Press. "I mean, there's nothing you can do about it. He was stopping everything. I think we could have went all night and probably he would have still given up zero."

"You get a good rhythm going," Quick said. "Not like it's easy, but at times it is easier than when you're getting only 17 shots and you're facing a good scoring chance once every 10 minutes."

The return of Nabby: Quick's former counterpart with the Sharks, Evgeni Nabokov, left for the KHL last summer, but now he's been let out of his contract with SKA St. Petersburg and he wants to return to the NHL. He's walking away from a four-year $24 million deal, but apparently his wife, Tabitha, and their two children no longer wanted to live in St. Petersburg. They have returned to the U.S. and Nabby has followed them.

There are a few teams who could use goaltending (TSN's Darren Dreger lists Washington and Tampa Bay as candidates), but Nabokov has to go through the waiver process after he signs with an NHL club and, looking at the standings, that would mean a team like the Senators could pick him off first, although they have only about $1.5 million in cap space left. The Lightning have over $10 million.

But Damian Cristodero, blogging for the St. Petersburg Times (not, as you certainly know, the same St. Petersburg where Nabby just came from) thinks the Lightning might let someone else sign the goalie and then be the team that tries to claim him off waivers.

The 35-year-old Nabokov is reportedly in shape and ready to play, but he was not knocking 'em dead in the KHL, however, with an 8-8-5 record, a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage.

Desert fireworks: The big hockey news tonight in Glendale, Arizona, won't be about a Coyotes game; they're flying east for a six-game road trip that starts tomorrow in New Jersey. No, the headlines will come from the Glendale City Council, which is scheduled to vote on an agreement pertaining to Jobing.com Arena that will allow the sale of the team by the NHL to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer.

In the agreement, Glendale will take control of the parking at the arena and get that revenue for all events, and give Hulsizer $100 million (to be raised by a bond issue backed by parking fees) to manage the building for five years. Hulsizer will use the $100 million to help pay the $170 million price tag for the club. He can buy the arena after five years for no more than $130 million and he will keep the team in Glendale at least until 2033.

Sounds good, except Councilman Phil Lieberman blasted the deal as "ridiculous" on Friday night and said Glendale cannot afford the terms of the agreement. So there could be some fireworks tonight.

Part of the agreement is that the team may be renamed the Arizona Coyotes.

Skating Around: The Leafs' Dion Phaneuf returns to Calgary on Wednesday. Booing is expected...

The Battle of Pennsylvania resumes tonight in Philly and Evgeni Malkin could be back in the lineup for the Penguins. But Chris Kunitz may be out with an injury, which could mean that Geno will be Sid's linemate...

Rangers captain Chris Drury will return to the lineup on Wednesday against the Penguins. That means someone will have to be scratched. "It's not going to be the kids," coach John Tortorella was quoted in The New York Daily News, referring to his team's clutch of rising young talent that we discussed yesterday. "I'll tell you that right now. No kids are coming out....This is our captain coming in right now, Chris Drury. I think everyone wants him in. Someone's going to have to suffer. Someone's going to have to sit out. It's not going to be a kid, though." And Drury could become a very expensive fourth liner...

The Canadiens, who pulled a no show in Toronto on Saturday night, recalled Max Pacioretty from AHL Hamilton, where he'd been scoring at a torrid clip -- 17 goals and 15 assists, tied for second in the league with his linemate David Desharnais (7 goals, 25 assists) and Zach Boychuk (10 goals, 22 assists) of Charlotte. All three players are two points behind Binghamton's Corey Locke, who has 11 goals and 23 assists. Pacioretty could see first line duty against the Flyers on Wednesday...

And finally, here's how the Avalanche-Blackhawks game was decided on Monday night, just one minute after Tomas Fleischmann's shot got through Hawks goalie Cory Crawford (video) to tie the game 5-5 with under four minutes left in regulation. Watch below as Brent Seabrook tries to reverse the puck behind the net to partner Duncan Keith...

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Is that disrespectful hot dogging? Or is it okay because they're not rookies? Just asking.

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