Sunday, November 7, 2010
Kings: Bernier shines against Preds
By Dan Arritt
LOS ANGELES--When you’re the back-up goaltender to a player as hot as Jonathan Quick, it’s easy for others to pick out your flaws.
Jonathan Bernier put much of that nit-picking to rest Saturday night.
Bernier stopped 25 shots and came within 2 ˝ minutes of his second career shutout in leading the Kings to a 4-1 victory against the Nashville Predators before a sellout crowd at Staples Center.
“I put a lot of effort into practice this week and I guess it paid off,” he said.
The Kings (10-3-0) rewarded Bernier with two first-period goals—their first two-goal lead in the opening period this season—allowing him to settle into his game.
“That was great,” he said. “That was our game plan.”
Bernier, a first-round draft choice in 2006, had never been a back-up until this season. In his few opportunities to start, he has been less than razor sharp, coming into the Nashville game with a 1-2 record.
By contrast, Quick has been stellar in running his record to 8-1, a win total that's tied for the league lead, and owning a 1.64 goals-against average, which is third-best among goaltenders with at least eight games played.
“I don’t think he’s used to this back-up role,” said defenseman Matt Greene. “For him to come in and have a good game tonight after a bit of a break and get us points is huge for us. It shows our tandem is going to be good.”
Coach Terry Murray credited Bernier with helping kill all three penalties against Nashville and running the unit’s penalty-kill stats to 41-of-44 this season.
“He was our best penalty killer tonight,” Murray said. “Our group was off a little bit, we allowed some plays that were very uncharacteristic of the way we’ve been killing so far.”