Goaltender Jonathan Bernier of the Kings was nominated Monday for the 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Los Angeles chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The Masterton Trophy is awarded by the PHWA annually to the player who exhibits the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey. Masterton was a player for the Minnesota North Stars before he died Jan. 15, 1968 as a result of an on-ice injury.
Bernier did not play in the Kings’ playoff run last season because of Jonathan Quick’s excellence and durability, but Bernier has been a valuable member of the team this season. With Quick recovering from back surgery and working to regain his old form, Bernier compiled numbers that rank him among the NHL leaders.
Through the games of April 21, Bernier was 9-2-1 in 13 games with a 1.86 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, putting him among the league leaders in both categories. He also had one shutout. In addition, he is always available to the media for interviews.
Bernier, 24, missed the Kings’ Stanley Cup celebration visit to the White House to be with his family following the death of his beloved grandmother in March.
Bernier won the Kings’ Community Service Award for his charitable work last season. He donated four lower-level tickets to each game last season to patients from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and their families, and he met with each patient after games as part of a program called “Bernie’s Angels.” During the playoffs he conducted an essay contest to give away goalie gear to an aspiring goaltender. He helped select the winner and three runners-up and invited them to a goalie clinic.
The Kings didn’t look like a team that played Saturday, when they defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-1, finding reserves of energy late in Sunday’s game against the Ducks that enabled them to rally from a 3-2 deficit in the closing minutes of regulation.
Dustin Brown swatted home a free puck to tie the score at 3-all, one of 16 shots the Kings fired at goaltender Viktor Fasth in the third period. The Ducks went ahead on Matt Beleskey’s power-play goal early in the third, but had only five shots in the period.
“Played good, came in here and played hard, scored three goals and gave yourself a chance to win,” coach Darryl Sutter said after the Kings (22-13-4, fourth place in the Western Conference) rallied three times to force the game to overtime and a shootout.
The teams traded goals in the early going, with Drew Doughty of the Kings countering Kyle Palmieri’s goal for the Ducks and Jeff Carter answering Corey Perry’s strike for the Ducks, setting up a third Kings rally in the third period.
In the shootout, the Kings got only Carter’s goal against Fasth. Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Perry scored for the Ducks against Jonathan Bernier. The teams play for the fourth and final time of the regular season Saturday at Staples Center.
Darryl Sutter talked about the play of newly-acquired defenseman Robyn Regehr, the hot streak of winger Justin Williams and his goaltending rotation in the wake of Jonathan Bernier’s shutout Thursday night of the Minnesota Wild. Here’s the coach’s analysis:
Justin Williams skated along the right wing early in the Kings’ 3-0 homecoming victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at Staples Center. Head down, legs churning, arms pumping, he carried the puck a long way before anyone noticed him.
Williams unleashed an uncontested shot from the right faceoff circle that hit the back of the night only 1 minute, 29 seconds into the game.
Here’s what Kings coach Darryl Sutter said about his goaltending rotation after Jonathan Bernier recorded a career-high 40 saves in a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes, one night after Jonathan Quick shut them out 4-0:
“(Bernier) is a young goaltender and he wants to be a No. 1 goalie. That’s his goal and that’s what he said this summer and the way the schedule’s been and with Quick’s (back) surgery last summer and his training, it’s allowed us to play both guys and we’ll continue to do that.”
Drew Doughty said his 28-game goal-scoring drought didn’t worry him in the least.
He also admitted he lied.
Doughty’s first goal of the season came as a giant relief to the Kings’ defenseman. It also propelled the Kings to a 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Phoenix Coyotes at Staples Center, a game that also featured a career-high 40 saves for goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks to cut the Kings’ lead to 2-1 only 35 seconds into the second period. Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier stopped Tommy Wingels on a penalty shot at 7:58 of the second after rookie Tyler Toffoli slashed Wingles’ stick in half on a partial breakaway. The Kings then took command with goals from Jarret Stoll, Kyle Clifford (his second of the game) and Dwight King to make it 5-1 going into the third. It was Clifford’s first multi-goal game of his career.
The Kings fell behind the San Jose Sharks 4-1 before making a late charge that brought them to within two goals Thursday night at HP Pavilion. The Sharks held on to win the first of two games between the rivals in three nights 4-3. The rematch is Saturday night at Staples Center, with the Kings looking to improve their record on home ice to 10-2-1. They were 14-10-2 overall and in fifth place in the Western Conference after losing to the Sharks (12-8-6, seventh). The Kings also are looking to lower their goals-against, and it’s possible Jonathan Bernier could start Saturday. Bernier relieved starter Jonathan Quick, who gave up three goals in Thursday’s loss at San Jose.
Bernier is 5-2-0 with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
Quick is 9-8-2 with a 2.69 goals-against average and an .891 save percentage.
Antti Niemi (11-5-5, 2.06, .929) is expected to start for the Sharks.
The good times came to a screeching halt when the Kings lost to the Dallas Stars 5-2 on Thursday, with coach Darryl Sutter unhappy with their goaltending and defensive play. The Kings had won six in a row at Staples Center before falling with a thud to the Stars.
The Kings looked like they were skating through mud in the second period Tuesday night at Staples Center. The St. Louis Blues built a three-goal lead before the Kings rallied with a goal from defenseman Slava Voynov in the closing minutes of the period. The Blues seemed bent on giving away their lead, taking a couple of needless penalties late in the period. But the Kings failed to click after Roman Polak was penalized for holding and then went to the penalty box for boarding Dwight King. Kings coach Darryl Sutter pulled starter Jonathan Bernier after the Blues’ David Perron scored to make it 3-1 only 1:14 into the period. It was only the second time this season Sutter pulled his startin goaltender. Bernier couldn’t be faulted for any of the three goals.