After the Kings won another road game last night, bringing their record to 5-0 away from Staples Center this postseason, I thought about a lot of things.
I thought about how physics says Jonathan Quick's groin should have fallen apart two years ago because no human being should be able to take away the bottom of the net that quickly. I thought about how LA's bad luck all season was finally coming around. I thought about how sneaky (in a good way, mind you) Ken Hitchcock was to buy an extra timeout when he pulled Brian Elliot, put in Jake Allen and then put Elliot back in like a minute and a half later. I thought about Willie Mitchell because he's fucking awesome. I thought about how important Alex Pietrangelo is to the Blues and how losing him to injury hurts them in so many aspects of the game. I thought about Los Angeles holding St. Louis to 0 for 9 on the power play, which included a lengthy 5v3.
Yeah, I thought about that last one a lot.
But the first thing I thought about when Los Angeles put up a four spot in the first period was Kent Huskins.
Why? Because Kent Huskins is a guy who knows how to win.
"What the hell are you talking about Plank?" says the dumbfounded Sharks fan who never let Huskins live down a mistake he made in a preseason game or something like that. "Huskins is a depth defenseman whose quality of competition and CORSI numbers are pedestrian at best. He sees bottom six minutes, and while I'll admit his down to earth attitude and occasional end to end rush make him a decent enough player to have around on a roster, what has FTF come to if you're writing an article about him in the middle of a second round that he's watched from the press box? The guy cracked into the NHL at the age of 27 for heaven's sake!"
Nay I say to you good sir. Nay I say! For you have let your knowledge of advanced statistics and "context" blind you to what lies in front of you, clear as the twinkle Kent Huskins ever-caring eyes. You come to me with your scientific validity, spout well-reasoned arguments about "regression to the mean" and "shot quality", but never once do you dare enter the lair of the Huskinator.
Because just like opposing team's scoring opportunities, when you enter the lair of the Huskinator your argument prepares to die.
Because Kent Huskins is the best damn defenseman in the NHL at suppressing opponent's shooting percentages.
Kent Huskins On-Ice Save Percentage
|Year||Team||GP||ES TOI||ES SV% On-Ice||NHL D-Man Rank|
|2011-2012||St. Louis Blues||25||14:30||.953||3rd|
|2010-2011||San Jose Sharks||50||15:04||.946||7th|
|2009-2010||San Jose Sharks||82||15:09||.931||35th|
Well wouldja look at that.
Good ol' Kent Huskins, the man who toiled away in the AHL for five seasons before making the big show, sure has a knack for keeping the puck out of the net. He's strong as the average American male, about as quick as your uncle Jack who used to run track in high school, and oftentimes will burn his tongue when he eats soup too quickly.
But I'll be damned if he doesn't do one helluva job keeping the puck out of the net every time he's out on the ice*.
*Among others, George Parros is another guy who bucks the trend of SV% when on the ice. If Kent Huskins grew a mustache I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't give up an even strength goal against the rest of his career.