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.
Jonathan Bernier started against the St. Louis Blues as Kings coach Darryl Sutter went with his backup rather than Jonathan Quick, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the MVP of the playoffs last spring. Bernier has been the sharper of the two this season, going 5-1-0 with a 1.53 goals-against average before Tuesday’s game against the Blues. Quick was 6-6-2 with a 2.53 goals-against average.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter wouldn’t reveal his starting goalie for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He did say after Friday’s practice that the competition between Jonathan Bernier and Jonathan Quick was good for both of them and for the team. Bernier started in Wednesday’s victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Quick started in Monday’s win over the Ducks. Bernier is 4-1-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Quick is 6-5-2 with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. So, who starts Saturday against the Canucks?
Come for the song, as Sutter likes to tell reporters who ask about his starting goalie, meaning they’ll know after the national anthem is played.
Whatever momentum the Kings gained from their come-from-behind victory Monday over the Ducks seemed to end when they took the ice to face the Red Wings on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Dustin Penner took a tripping penalty only 2:21 into the game. Rob Scuderi then went for tripping at 6:56.
The easy thing for the Kings would be to coast through Wednesday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, their third contest in four nights, and focus on the 13 dates at Staples Center in their next 16 games. But they can’t afford to throw away any points at this point in the season. The Kings are 6-6-2 and 12th in the Western Conference standings. They trail the conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks by 15 points and the Pacific Division-leading Ducks by 11. The Flames are 5-6-3 and 14th in the West. It wasn’t immediately clear after the Kings’ 3-2 victory Tuesday over the Edmonton Oilers whether Jonathan Quick would start his third in a row on Wednesday against Calgary. Or whether Jonathan Bernier would take his place. Both have played well recently.
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.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter blamed himself and his coaching staff for neglecting goaltenders Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier during practice earlier this season. He said he was determined to pay more attention to them during workouts this past week, after replacing Quick with backup Bernier for wins Monday over the St. Louis Blues and Friday over the Columbus Blue Jackets.