If there was ever any doubt (and I don’t believe that there was) that some backup goalie from the Kings could come up north where everybody knows that hockey means everything whether you like it or not, and begin stealing the show for the most revered franchise, it is beginning to look like that is what is happening.
Heading into last night’s tilt at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.,. funny that they play hockey there lol, and bringing his all-time record vs. the Preds of 7-1-0 with an astounding GAA of 1.88, Jonathan Bernier probably just added a few thousand Twitter followers to his account as he backstopped the Toronto Maple Leafs to a golden 4-0 victory.
That GAA dropped by a little bit last night, I hope.
He was rock solid. Pekka Rinne, at the other end, was none too shabby either, but he could not hold the fort for as long as Bernier did.
“I found that in the second half of the game, we played better,” said Bernier outside the dressing room.
This game was a lot like most other games in the past, especially Tuesday night’s game with the Colorado Avalanche, as both teams played it tight for more than half the game, gives the feeling that one goal may win it.
Bernier who is known for his ability to keep rebounds under control, was on top of that yet again last night in Nashville.
“It’s trying to control the game (by puck control),” he said.
The game was tight until there were 7 minutes left in the middle frame when Phil Kessel scored his second goal of the season, James van Riemsdyk (JVR) drew the lone assist.
JVR then tallied one, with Kessel and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson getting the assists, which came with nine seconds remaining in the frame when Rinne found himself out of position after over-playing a Kessel wraparound attempt.
Nashville bench boss Barry Trotz was not the least bit happy with that play.
“The real killer was the second goal,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “With 9 seconds to go, they score. If we get through that period 1-0, I think we might get a point.”
Into the third and final frame where, if the game was not already out of reach, it would be put out of reach when Mr. Carrie Underwood (Mike Fisher) helped Leafs put the game away.
Fisher was assessed a major for boarding and a game misconduct after hitting former Predators defenseman Cody Franson into the boards by the Toronto bench. Franson left a pool of blood on the ice and did not return.
“It was just a hockey play,” Fisher said. “First of all, hopefully he’s OK. I felt bad he got hurt, but it was just a play where we kind of went into the glass. There was obviously no intent at all and very surprised to get a penalty. I didn’t feel like it was a penalty. It cost the team, which is unfortunate. Obviously I was pretty fired up after they called it.”
Both Bozak and Joffrey Lupul (deflection off a Jake Gardiner point blast) scored on the ensuing power play.
Kessel and rookie hot shot Morgan Reilly drew assists on Bozak’s 3-0 goal while Gardiner and Nazem Kadri helped Lupul out. It was Reilly’s first NHL point.
It was only the fifth time the Maple Leafs played in Nashville, the fewest of any NHL team. … LW Josh Leivo and LW David Broll made their NHL debuts. Local boy Broll (Mississauga) fought with Nashville C Matt Hendricks in the second period (watch the heavyweight bout right here http://video.mapleleafs.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=802&id=456258&lang=en).
It is a good thing that Hendricks DID NOT remove his helmet before this fight started or he would be in the hospital right now (remember last Saturday night?) … Nashville has allowed the first goal in all four games this season. It was the 15th anniversary of the first game in Predators history.
Broll was one of the call-ups from the Baby Leafs (Toronto Marlies) that received a brief promotion for the Nashville game, said it was good to finally get some ice time with the big team.
“I wanted to come in here and do my job, be physical. It’s what I have to do. Let’s do it! I’m happy I did it!”
Franson was bloodied a bit late in the game after the hit by Fisher. He seems okay according to Coach Carlyle.
Leafs head home for a few days and host the Oilers at the ACC on Saturday night.