To hear Todd McLellan tell it, his Kings team doesn’t have a No. 1 goaltender, they have a pair of them. Regardless of how the situation may be viewed or described, Cal Petersen is doing everything he can to reward management for the faith they’ve shown in him over the past few seasons. Not only did the team sign him to a three-year contract extension two summers ago, GM Rob Blake also traded away Jack Campbell in a deal last January that sent the final signal to any remaining doubters – Petersen is the Kings goaltender of the future.
Now, 26 years old, the future is very much now for the lanky netminder. It wasn’t that long ago where he was listed as the team’s No. 1 ranked prospect. These days, he’s a full-time NHL goalie, sharing a crease with the greatest Kings player to ever play the position.
“We’re competitive guys, our main focus is winning every single time we get into the net,” Petersen shared, when talking about his ongoing relationship with Jonathan Quick. “Whenever our number is called and it’s our turn to go in and help the team win, that’s what we do.”
Although his record this season is a rather pedestrian 4-4 at the moment, Petersen’s .931 save percentage speaks more to what he’s brought to the team in 2021. During the team’s current 6-game winning streak, both goalies have picked up three victories.
“I’ve always been a big proponent that when one goalie is playing well it helps the other goalie play even better,” said Petersen. “That’s holding true for Quickie and me. Whichever guy is in the net, the other guy has his back, is supporting him 100%. It’s a great relationship from that regard. Each time the other guy is in net, he wants to prove his worth, have a great game, help the team win, and do his job. I don’t think that really changes from night to night with whatever goalie is in the net.”
Rotating goalies haven’t been the only changes facing the Kings of late. Injuries to several defensemen have caused a mixing of the blueline pairs quite often, most recently when Mikey Anderson was pulled from the lineup prior to Wednesday night’s game in St. Louis.
Insert Olli Maatta, who was promoted from the third pairing back up to the top spot alongside Drew Doughty.
“He’s playing noticeably really well,” remarked Petersen. “To come back and play those heavy minutes, he was 100% up to the task and a big reason why we won. You can just tell, he’s incredibly confident back there. He’s making the right plays now and the guys have a ton of confidence in him. He’s gonna still get better each game and continue to help us.”
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) February 25, 2021
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) February 25, 2021
Doughty logged 26:11 of ice time last night, including about a two minute shift during a delayed penalty during the third period – and was visibly pumped up once the whistle finally blew.
“He’s an emotional guy,” Petersen said. “He was excited that we killed off that three minutes there and held strong. I think it was more so a little release of emotion that it was all over.”
Time seemed to stand still as the delayed penalty went on, and on, and on.
“It’s obviously unique,” added Petersen. “The whole time we were expecting the other team to mess up. or for an errant pass or something like that, that we could’ve taken advantage of, but they did a good job. Whenever they got a shot, they recovered it. We did a better job of staying to our structure, making sure nothing went through our seams, and just held on for dear life. Guys did a really good job of selling out when they needed to. We handled it fine, it didn’t really feel too chaotic despite the long time for it.”
With points in seven straight games and now in the thick of fighting for a playoff spot in the West Division, Petersen likes what he’s seeing from his teammates and doesn’t worry about any sort of complacency possibly creeping in anytime soon.
“Guys are playing how we expect them to play and doing their jobs, that’s been our main thing,” he said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves, taking it game by game, and it’s paying off for us. We had a defenseman go down and another one stepped right in. Awesome for us, guys are seizing the opportunities that are given to them and the older guys are continuing on setting the tone. It’s a great combination and we’re hoping to build off it when we go to Minnesota here.”
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