LOS ANGELES--Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and now Matt Duchene, PA Parenteau and Ryan O'Reilly.
One former league most valuable player, another certain future Hall of Famer and others wildly gifted with world-class talent and offensive skill.
Still, Los Angeles Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones has stopped them all in separate shootouts, the classic one-on-one, high-noon-type showdown. This is what Jones had to do along the way to making the NHL record book, winning his first eight NHL starts.
With the Kings' 3-2 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, Jones tied Bob Froese, who won his first eight starts in the 1982-83 season with the Philadelphia Flyers. For the Kings, who have won nine of their last 10 games, the goals came from Jeff Carter (11th of the season) in the first period and Justin Williams (12th) in the second period.
The first of the eight victories for Jones was a nine-round shootout Dec. 3 against the Anaheim Ducks, in which he stopped all nine Anaheim players, Getzlaf, Perry and Selanne, among others.
This was the impressive bookend.
Jones denied the Avalanche trio of Duchene, Parenteau and O'Reilly, and Anze Kopitar secured the win for the Kings, as he was able to solve Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov in the second round.
The Kings' room was not exactly buzzing about the record. But for differing reasons.
First, Jones looked bemused. He has heard of Froese but wasn't aware of the mark, which came well before Jones was born. It might as well have been a question about an Original Six goalie.
"I didn't even know that, to be honest," Jones said. "Honestly, I don't even know what the record is. To be honest, I'm not sure what you guys were talking about."
Another reporter later didn't even get to finish a question about Jones before Kings Coach Darryl Sutter interrupted him, having heard the word "accomplishment."
"I don't want to talk about it," Sutter said. "Talk about the team. One guy doesn't win games."
OK, so two guys won the shootout -- Kopitar and Jones.
The most challenging save of the shootout was the first one, by Jones, on Duchene, who looked as if he had the rookie beaten after a clever fake.
"It was a pretty good move," Jones said. "It was a good fake and it got me out of position. I just tried to throw my legs back and take away as much of the bottom of the net as I could and I got lucky there."
Jones could move past Froese with a win Monday if he starts against the Dallas Stars. His goals-against average is 0.98 and save percentage .966.
Ray Emery won his first nine decisions with the Ottawa Senators, a distinction made by the Elias Sports Bureau, and that accomplishment was spread over several seasons.
"I don't know what to say, to be honest with you," Kopitar said about Jones. "You get a couple and it's pretty much a done deal. He's been great. I don't know how many times I've said this, but he's giving us a chance every night and that's all you want."
Jones has not allowed a goal in the first period of his eight wins, and has not given up three goals in a game. Both Avalanche goals came on the power play after the Kings led, 2-0. Defenseman Erik Johnson beat Jones stick side from the left circle, at 14:02 of the second period and O'Reilly tied it at 10:27 of the third period after Mike Richards had gone off for delay of game for closing his hand on the puck.
"Pretty skilled player down low," Jones said of O'Reilly. "That's the save we need in the third period, in a 2-1 hockey game. But it was a good play and he got it up pretty quick."
Sutter was not pleased with the defense in front of Jones.
"They had a rough night," he said. "We're so used to playing at a high level. Why is that? ... We expect to be better than OK."
Fatigue could be a factor right before the Christmas break and the early start is often a problem with the Kings.
"We gutted it out," Kopitar said. "It shows the character of the team and the mental toughness."
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