Tomorrow’s story today …
Jonathan Bernier couldn’t remember the last time he started three consecutive games.
“Probably ‘Manch,’” the Kings’ backup goaltender said after Saturday’s practice, using the players’ accepted shorthand for the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the American Hockey League, where he toiled in the minor leagues from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
In fact, it had been more than two years since Bernier started two in row before he was in net for the Kings’ victories Monday over the Blues in St. Louis and Friday over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Staples Center. He said he didn’t know if he would play today against the Blackhawks in Chicago.
If he doesn’t start today’s nationally-televised game against the league-leading Blackhawks, then he’s almost certain to play either Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers or Wednesday against the Calgary Flames as Kings coach Darryl Sutter continues his search for one hot goalie to carry the team.
Last spring, Jonathan Quick was that man, leaving Bernier in the role of a spectator as the Kings made a late run to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and then charged to their first Stanley Cup championship.
Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs, but he hasn’t shown the same form as last spring. Sutter started Bernier on Monday against against the Blues and then went with him again for Friday’s game against the Blue Jackets.
“Last year, ‘Quickie’ was just unbelievable,” Bernier said. “That’s why Darryl just rode with him the whole way. He deserved it. (But) sometimes you need to give a break to your No. 1 and it just happened that I played back-to-back.”