Make no mistake about it, Jonathan Quick is the Kings starting goaltender.
Yet, coach Darryl Sutter caught the attention of many people on Friday morning when it was learned Jonathan Bernier would be starting for the second game in a row. Even the guy playing was confused at first.
“I was a little surprised to be honest,” he told MayorsManor after the Kings 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets. “Billy (Ranford) told me to make sure I was ready, and you never know. So I was pretty happy to get that start.”
Part of the reason it wasn’t expected is Sutter is known for liking to play his number one goalie as often as possible. While a rational person could have reasonably predicted Bernier would have started one of the back-to-back games last weekend, the game vs. Columbus came after Quick hadn’t played since Sunday.
Still, the main reason Bernier thought he wasn’t playing came after he went to bed Thursday night without hearing from Sutter.
“I found out I was playing before the morning skate (on Friday),” he said. “I actually thought Quicky was in because if he doesn’t tell me the night before, that usually means I’m not in.”
Even so, he heeded the advice of Ranford and tried to get his mind ready just in case. The odds were long though, as Bernier hadn’t been given back-to-back starts with the Kings since January 2011 – more than two years ago.
“When you wake up that day of the game you want to make sure you’re getting focused for the game at night,” he said of his mental preparation. “But the day before you can’t think too much about it.’
The win pushed his record over .500, giving him a 2-1 mark on the season. Bernier also holds an impressive 2.08 goals-against average and has only let in one goal in each of his last two starts.
However, he isn’t thinking too far ahead – even with the Kings heading to Chicago now to begin a stretch where they’ll play three games in four days.
“I just go day-by-day,” Bernier said, sounding calm and relaxed through a French-Canadian accent.
Overall, he likes what he’s seen from his teammates over the last three games and is hopes they continue building on any positive momentum.
“I thought we were right on them,” he said of the game with Columbus. “We scored a big goal on that 5-on-3, that helps our power play get going…It was another great game by the guys. I think I had two shots in the second. When you give up 13 shots, you better find a way to win.”
There was one thing he wasn’t so clear on though. Bernier picked up an assist on Mike Richards’ goal, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead. It was his second career assist, But, when asked when the first one was he remarked, “I don’t know. Pee wee, maybe?”
For the record, it was April 1, 2010 in a game vs. Vancouver.
Despite any confusion on the assist, he was adamant and direct when asked if the Kings have any sort of a goalie controversy following his back-to-back wins.
First he laghed.
Then he added – “No, we don’t.”
No, they don’t.
Expect Quick to start vs. the Blackhawks.
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