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article imageMemorable NHL debut from L.A. Kings goalie Martin Jones

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 5, 2013 in Sports
It took hard-working L.A. Kings goalie Martin Jones 149 games in the AHL and one in the ECHL, to earn his chance in the show. But it finally came Tuesday, Dec. 3 and the undrafted native of North Vancouver made his NHL debut a memorable one.
It was the first time the Kings and Anaheim Ducks faced-off this season and the Kings, behind a 26-save performance from Jones, battled the Ducks to a 2-2 draw through regulation and overtime. The Ducks haven't lost a home game in regulation all season (10-0-2) and Jones and his teammates came close to ending that streak.
Jones then had one of the better shoot-outs any NHL goalie has had, surely the longest a goalie in his first game has managed, as he faced 9 Duck shooters and did not allow a goal. He can thank King's teammate Dwight King for finally scoring, allowing him to stop Mathieu Perreault to end the game and earn his first win in his first NHL game.
Martin Jones: "It's the same game"
The affable Jones, who has 77 wins and 11 shutouts with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, didn't seem the nervous guy he must have been. The 23-year-old was strong positionally and made a number of acrobatic saves. He told media he didn't change the way he went about his pregame preparation despite the magnitude of the game.
''Once you start the day and start going through your routine, everything is pretty familiar,'' he said when it was all over. ''And it's the same game. It was intense, for sure. I wanted to make sure I was just prepared and as focused as I could be, and try to enjoy it a little bit if I could. It was a great experience, and something I've dreamed about for a long time - playing in an NHL game and getting a win.
"It was everything it was cracked up to be.''
The two NHL goals Jones allowed? The first came off of the stick of Ryan Getzlaf at 7:51 of the second and the second came at 2:14 of the third courtesy Corey Perry. Not bad, first two goals from all-stars and Team Canada gold medalists. On Perry's goal the puck flipped over Jones and he managed to come close to stopping it by sweeping his left arm behind him and across his back. It's an indicator of a goalie that doesn't give up on any shot, an attribute that comes in handy for NHL goaltenders.
On this night the shootout was the great equalizer as the first two shooters the Ducks sent out were none other than Perry and Getzlaf and Jones calmly stood his ground and caused each to shoot wide. He also thwarted Nick Bonino, veteran Finnish stars Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne, Dustin Penner, Kyle Palmieri, Matt Beleskey and finally Perreault.
Jones helps Kings close in on Ducks
The 6'4" goalie, who coached Pee Wee-aged goalies for one week at the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver in August, got called up due to the injury to Jonathan Quick. Back-up Ben Scrivens has played well in place of Quick and because of that got 10 straight starts. But eventually he had to give way and Jones is just happy it ended so well.
"It was an intense, hard-fought game," Jones said. "We're happy with the extra point."
The game left L.A. in 4th place in the Western Conference, just one point behind the Ducks. Quick is not expected back until around Christmas so there is every chance that Martin Jones will get another shot at an NHL start before he returns.
With such a memorable debut it seems a sure thing.
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