Bernier benefits from rare scoring outburst

Bernier benefits from rare scoring outburst

Published Jan. 10, 2012 11:14 a.m. ET

Jonathan Bernier led his Kings teammates onto the ice Monday night, likely with the hope that they would give him a bit more goal-scoring support than they previously had this season. They did.

Entering Monday, in Bernier's seven starts the Kings had scored a total of 11 goals, an average of 1.57. Monday against the Washington Capitals, the Kings erupted in a 5-2 victory, just the eighth time this season they had scored at least four goals.

The Kings haven't done much better for No. 1 goalie Jonathan Quick. In the 35 games started by Quick, the Kings have scored a total of 77 goals (2.20 average).

Goalie coach Bill Ranford called the Kings' lack of offense "mind-boggling" but said the goalies do not dwell on the statistics they cannot control.

"We don't even talk about it," Ranford said. "Their job is to stop the puck. It doesn't matter. They do their job. You control what you can control, and that's stopping the puck. We haven't even gone there. You talk about it as a coaching staff, that we've got to get more scoring and stuff, but when Terry (Murray) was let go, I think that was the No. 1 thing that (assistant coaches) Johnny (Stevens) and Jamie (Kompon) stressed, is that our defensive structure stays in place.

"Then when Darryl (Sutter) took over, that's the one thing that he said right off the bat, that we are not changing what we do defensively. So we don't talk about it."

   --For once, the Kings enjoyed some success Monday on both ends of the special-team spectrum. For much of this season, the Kings have been stellar on the penalty kill and awful on the power play. Entering Monday, the Kings had been 1-for-31 on the power play in their last seven games and are 6-for-88 on the power play in their last 23 games (6.8 percent). Against Washington, the Kings went 1-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. The Kings have killed 37 consecutive penalties (the franchise record is 46) and have killed 81 of their last 84 penalties (96.4 percent).
   --The Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, made minor tweaks rather than wholesale changes in an attempt to squeeze more offense out of the lineup, and the changes involved players shifting positions on the ice. Dustin Brown stayed on the first line and moved from right wing to left wing, while Jarret Stoll stayed on the second line and moved from center to right wing. The changes were nothing major for either player. Brown has said that, in many respects, he prefers to play on the left side, while Stoll has previously played wing for the Kings while still taking some faceoffs, a strength of his game. Mike Richards, who had been playing left wing, moved back to center, his natural position.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Keep mixing and matching those guys. The kids, the one line, has been pretty good for us, so we'll keep working with it. We'll try the other way, with Mike (Richards) back to his natural position. Stolly (Jarret Stoll) has played wing. Willy (Justin Williams) has been playing really good. Hopefully he can give Kopi (Anze Kopitar) a little boost there." -- Kings coach Darryl Sutter, on his line-combination changes for Monday's game.

   --LW Dustin Penner was able to return to the lineup Monday after he missed the previous game with a back injury. Penner said he suffered back spasms on Saturday morning while eating breakfast -- pancakes, to be specific -- at his home but was able to return to practice on Sunday and was back on the Kings' second line Monday, on a new-look line with C Mike Richards and RW Jarret Stoll. Penner, expected to be a major contributor for the Kings this season, has two goals and six assists in 31 games.
   --C Anze Kopitar got a new look Monday in terms of his linemates, in the hope that a change might boost Kopitar's stagnant offense. It worked as Kopitar scored a first-period goal to give the Kings a 2-1 lead. LW Dustin Brown remained on Kopitar's line but moved from right wing to left wing. RW Justin Williams, with whom Kopitar has had chemistry and success in the past, moved up from the second line. Kopitar is the Kings' point leader (37) but had only one goal in his previous 24 games. "Well, the media always does everything based off numbers, right?" coach Darryl Sutter said. "From a numbers standpoint, he's probably fine, but I think there's other parts of his game that he can be better at, that can help us."
   --D Slava Voynov technically missed his fourth consecutive game because of an undisclosed upper-body injury, but it seems as though Voynov could return to the lineup at any time. Voynov, a rookie, had been a regular part of the lineup before taking big hits in back-to-back games and has been replaced in the lineup by D Alec Martinez. Voynov has been a full participant in practice for the last three days and is skating and participating in drills without restriction. Voynov has four goals and six assists in 24 games this season. Martinez has two goals and zero assists in 23 games.

   --D Slava Voynov (upper body) is considered day-to-day.
   --LW Simon Gagne (concussion) was put on injured reserve on Dec. 28.
   --LW Scott Parse (hip) was put on injured reserve on Nov. 9 and underwent surgery on Dec. 2. Parse will be out until at least early April and might be out for the season.

   --Jonathan Bernier.
   --Jonathan Quick.

   --Rob Scuderi, Drew Doughty.
   --Willie Mitchell, Alec Martinez.
   --Jack Johnson, Matt Greene.

   --LW Dustin Brown, C Anze Kopitar, RW Justin Williams.

   --LW Dustin Penner, C Mike Richards, RW Jarret Stoll.

   --LW Brad Richardson, C Andrei Loktionov, RW Trevor Lewis

   --LW Kyle Clifford, C Colin Fraser, RW Trent Hunter