I was surprised when I saw Jonathan Bernier in net, not because he hasn’t earned the start but because of the experience of Erik Ersberg and the message it may sent to him. If ever the ends justified the means within a hockey game, tonight’s matchup against Dallas was it.
The Kings came into Dallas’ barn 4-0 this season. In the last outing less than 2 weeks ago, the Stars saw stars as the Kings slapped them around 5-1. So, what about tonight…
The first saw a back and forth game. Both teams had 11 shots on goal. Bernier was solid. The Kings took the lead at the 19:25 mark on a point shot from Dustin Brown that was redirected by a Ryan Smyth looking Fredrik Modin tip in front of the net. A less interesting second period had the Kings on their heels a bit especially with early penalties from Frederik Modin and Dustin Brown. Jonathan Bernier once again showed a mature game by challenging shooters, cutting down angles and giving Dallas little to no second chances. The Stars finally tied the game in the third on a Brendan Morrow wrist shot near the right hash marks. Sean O’Donnell and Jack Johnson were caught chasing, leaving Modano to feed the puck to Ribiero who made a nice pass to Morrow. The Stars’ captain was was wide open and put it past a laterally sliding Bernier. The Kings couldn’t capitalize on their 10 third period shots.
Overtime saw the Stars on the better end of the scoring chances but Bernier continued to impress leaving some of us wondering why the hell we ever wanted Ersberg in goal. The shootout was…well, a shootout. The skills competition was a goaltender’s battle with Turco, Bernier and each of their goal posts coming up with some big stops. Jarrett Stoll sealed the game on a high glove side wrister at the end of round 6. The Kings remain undefeated when leading after two periods.
Give the Stars credit. They battled hard, Turco played well and, very uncharacteristic of a Marc Crawford team, played a disciplined defensive game…oh, and Marc, regarding the 500th win you wanted. Yeah. Denied.
Categories: L.A. Kings News