Is Bernier the 2nd Coming? Has Jonathan Quick lost his starting spot to the upstart Jonathan Bernier? What happens to Ersberg? Who starts the next Kings game? Will I continue my streak of picking the wrong winner in every game?
In order: maybe, not a chance, nothing, probably Quick, hopefully not.
C’mon folks, those are the kind of silly over-reacting questions we’re seeing throughout the blogosphere. I’m going to have to hear a compelling argument to see why two solid performances would unseat Quick, who has set a franchise record for single-season wins. That said, you’d better believe that Quick will be looking over his shoulder heading into next season, and Ersberg’s future with the Kings is likely coming to an end – and it couldn’t be more beautiful.
First the result. For the first time in two years, and after a dreadful late season losing streak, the Kings managed to put together a solid performance and grab the win, a 2-0 defeat of the Nashville Predators, and precious 4-point swing against a team still residing above the Kings in the standings. Unfortunately due to some other wins around the league, the Kings remain in 7th position, currently set to square off against the Blackhawks if the season ended today.
Now, the implications. The win was key for the Kings in snapping the string of terrible results that have plagued them lately. Fortunately they were able to get the monkey off their back against the Predators, a team that has had the Kings’ number for the last couple years. The win was also huge for Bernier. He recorded his first NHL shutout in only his 6th NHL game and put up 34 saves in the process. It’s another step in regaining his credibility with Kings fans, and establishing himself as a potential challenger for the Kings starting job. We’ll have a full-length look at Bernier in the near future (following our look at Scott Parse coming later this week), but suffice it to say that Bernier has been looked upon as the goaltending savior for the Los Angeles Kings since he was drafted in 2006. The Kings gave Quick a contract extension, and Bernier is going to be chomping at the bit for some more NHL starts after dominating the AHL and showing he can perform at this level.
So what’s next? Well, Vancouver awaits, and it will be another great opportunity for the Kings to build momentum. It may be even more important since the Canucks are a very real possible 1st round opponent if the Kings make the playoffs. The Kings are 0-2-1 against the Canucks this season, and a win would go a significant way in proving that they can hold their own if that’s the draw for the 1st round. We’ll see how they perform and if they can break down Luongo and handcuff the Sedin brothers. It’s also worth mentioning that according to Terry Murray, Bernier will be sticking with the Kings for the immediate future.
Oh, and since I’ve obviously failed as a prognosticator for the month of March, it’s your turn. What is the Kings’ record through the end of the season? Will Bernier get another start this season?
Next Up: Vancouver Canucks