Jonathan Quick did almost enough to beat the Red Wings in Detroit two weeks ago. He stopped 28 of 31 shots and didn’t allow a goal for nearly the last 45 minutes of regulation. But, moments after the Kings won a face off in the final seconds of the third period, the puck slipped between his legs and the Kings lost 3-2. Despite the score though, it was perhaps their best game of the season up until that point.
So, give the guy a chance to redeem himself in the re-match in LA this week, right? Wrong.
“I knew I was playing,” said back-up Jonathan Bernier, admitting that coach Darryl Sutter had told him the night before.
When the season started it looked like Bernier might be lucky to get five games in this year. After all, he has a coach who loves to play his number-one goalie as often as possible and Quick was coming off of a Conn Smythe performance in the playoffs.
Yet, in the Kings’ eight games since that loss in Detroit, Sutter has given each goalie four starts.
Quick has posted a 3-1 record in his games, along with a .937 save percentage.
Bernier has been a perfect 4-0 with a .958 save percentage. He’s also only allowed a single goal in each of his starts, including a pretty fluky one in the first period on Wednesday.
“It was frustrating,” Bernier said of the strange play that lead to the Red Wings getting on the scoreboard first. “But, I felt I just needed to keep doing what I was doing. I felt pretty good in the first. They had a lot of power play (time) and they had a lot of shots. So, I was just really (getting into) the game, but that’s the way it goes you know. It was actually a wrister. I was trying to get a whistle and it barely touched my glove, and it went up and I think it hit my helmet. I’m actually not sure what happened, but that’s the way it goes. We didn’t slow down though, we just kept pushing and pushing, and then we got that one goal.”
After tying the game midway through the third period, Anze Kopitar eventually picked up the game winnner on a spectacular play that even Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard heavily complimented during his post-game session with the media.
As for Bernier though, he’s quick to credit his teammates when you ask about his recent strong play.
“I thought from the first game I played, and we won, from there we just kind of took off and we’ve been playing some pretty good hockey,” Bernier said of his hot streak. “We just don’t give up, we keep battling. At first, I thought we didn’t get those bounces that sometimes will help your team to get two points. But, now we are, and we just have to take advantage of it. Pile on all the wins.”
Well, if he keeps playing as well as he has been, there’s no doubt the Kings will be picking up plenty of wins. All he needs now is a chance to play more.
“But, Quicky is our number one,” Bernier stated. “Every time I step in I just want to play my game and not do some confusing things in here.”
Winner of four straight, only giving up one goal a game?
No confusion at all.
“Competition is the best for both,” Sutter said following Wednesday night’s win. “It’s the best for everybody.”
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