Jonathan Bernier’s mid-ice gaffe costs him starting job (VIDEO)
It was a scene Toronto Maple Leafs fans have seen too many times. At 13:55 in the second period of Sunday night's game against the New York Rangers, Derek Stepan threw a shot on net from center ice, a play that almost never works out. But the throwaway chance did work on Jonathan Bernier and the Leafs, as Stepan's shot caught Bernier unaware and fluttered past the goaltender to give New York a 2-1 lead.
“I lost it for a second,” Bernier told reporters of the play. “It doesn’t matter if the ice is bad or not. I’ve got to have that. It cost two points to my team tonight.”
The play did not do much to help Bernier's case to keep his starting job. Toronto's other netminder, James Reimer, stepped up while Bernier was out for the last two weeks with an injury, and Reimer went 4-1-2 in that time. His save percentage for the season is up to .925 while Bernier lingers at 0-7-1 with a .895 save percentage.
This isn't the first time Bernier has given up a blooper-reel goal either. Last season, Bernier famously allowed Oliver Ekman-Larsson to score on him from 120 feet out off a face off. The year before, Bernier kicked the puck into his own net in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Bernier is building a reputation for himself as a goalie who allows fluky goals, and that's not the way to convince a team you deserve to be the No. 1 man in net. Mike Babcock already announced James Reimer will start in net for the Leafs' next game. Whether Bernier gets a second chance any time soon is now more in doubt than ever.
(h/t Toronto Star)