BERNIER SHUTS OUT AND SHUTS UP THE PREDATORS 2-0

There’s something about the Nashville Predators I have never liked. It’s difficult to put my finger on it. They’ve had the Kings’ number but that’s not what bothers me. The Predators remind me of that guy who shows up to your party with a cowboy hat, tight jeans and boots. As you are having a Stone IPA and talking puck with your buddy Surly, you see the shit kicker walking in and, worse yet, greeting people with “howdy.”

“Who the hell is that guy?” you ask your wife.

“Oh, that’s Cynthia’s new boyfriend!” she tells you.

“Did you tell Cynthia this is a costume party?” you appropriately question.

“Be nice,” she reminds you.

You watch the guy stroll over to the bar and ask the bartender if he has any Coors light. Surly is smiling and trying to divert your attention back to the Kings. Meanwhile, you’re wondering if he has a one syllable first and last name and making a mental note to ensure Cynthia is off future invite lists.

The Kings Bobby, the Kings.

Sorry.

Jonathan Bernier came into tonight’s game as much the team doctor as the goaltender. With 23% of the fan base on suicide watch after the Kings matched their longest losing streak at 4 last night against the Minnesota Wild, doctor Bernier held the medicine for what ailed. He turned away all 34 shots on goal, 15 of which came in the second period when Nashville appeared to have most of the momentum. You get the sense with Bernier that his mind is at all times a calm still pool with neither a ripple nor a tide. He absorbed shots and when he gave up rebounds, he comfortably turned them away from approaching Predators. Matt Greene said after the game, “he was a huge, huge help for us tonight, and definitely our first star.”

Definitely.

The Kings started the scoring nearly 8 minutes into the third period. Randy Jones pinched along the boards, Kings fans gasped, he passed the puck to Halpern who circled around the net and placed a nice pass on the crashing Scott Parse’s stick. Parse one timed the biscuit past Pekka Rinne.  That is Parse’s third goal in two games, though he only played 5:39 tonight and just over 11 minutes in last night’s affair. Sean O’Donnell made it 2-0 when he showed the Kings why he has been miscast as a defenseman, rather than a 1st line left wing, by sniping the puck from the left circle past the stunned Nashville goaltender. O’D’s shot was perfect, right at the corner where the post and cross bar meet. Rinne’s surprise was equaled by Matt Greene’s elation who wore a smile from ear to ear as he congratulated his defensive partner on the amazing goal.

The Kings did several things right tonight. The defense played better. The forwards were playing much more as a cohesive unit. Though Kopitar, Smyth and Williams did not record a point, they did have a combined 15 shots on goal, 8 of which by Kopitar.

It felt good. A little like strolling to Chet Strait and asking him if it’s true that in Tennessee when a couple gets divorced, they are still legally brother and sister.



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