It wasn't long ago that the Kings' Jonathan Quick had to listen and, presumably, read about all the other great goaltenders in the NHL.

Especially from Kings Coach Darryl Sutter.

Sutter raved about the All-Star goalie from his Calgary days, Miikka Kiprusoff, and made comparisons last season between Kiprusoff and Quick, suggesting Quick still had to prove his worth over a period of time.

Again, last season, he shrewdly engaged in more motivational tactics with Quick, using the Sharks' Antti Niemi as the impetus.

One Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy later, Quick has become the measuring stick. In this playoff run, he has set the lofty standard with a league-leading three shutouts, a 1.50 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.

That brings us to Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Blackhawks and the Kings, which begins 2 p.m. PDT Saturday at United Center. Game 2 is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, a rare back-to-back circumstance in the playoffs.

Friday featured official media sessions for the teams. The first two questions coming Corey Crawford's way had to do with Quick. Not much later, the Chicago goalie was asked if he felt he was getting enough respect going into this series.

And remember, Crawford and colleague Ray Emery won the Jennings Trophy this year, given to the goalies on the team with the fewest goals allowed during the regular season.

"He's had a helluva year," Sutter said. "Didn't he win the Jennings? You better give Corey Crawford lots of credit."

But it all keeps coming back to Quick. His teammates and more than one analyst contend he might be better now than he was during last season's dazzling postseason performance. At this juncture of the 2012 playoffs, Quick was suffering from an injured back, which later required surgery in the off-season.

"It doesn't matter if it's Game 7 of the conference semis or game three of the season," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "He's going to make that save or one of those saves. I've just seen it too many times to say I'm shocked about it.

"I think he's spoiling us."

Quick has gotten better in the latter stages of the first two rounds, a six-game series win against the St. Louis Blues and the seven-game marathon against the San Jose Sharks.