Jonathan Bernier has 22 save shutout in first game with Toronto Marlies


When Jonathan Bernier was sent down to the Toronto Marlies on a conditioning stint, it wasn’t to recover from an injury. It was to recover from a fragile state of mind; the Leafs’ highest-paid goalie was 0-8-0 in his first nine appearances with the team, and his 0.888 SV% was near the bottom of the league.

Tonight, he pulled on the Marlies uniform for the first time in Rochester, and made his first step in the right direction, stopping every shot against in a 4-0 Toronto victory. Admittedly, this was a very, very easy game for Bernier. 

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As we all know, the Toronto Marlies are excellent at hockey and are the second best team in the AHL by points percentage. They also headed into tonight on their only losing streak this year, having lost a pair to St. John’s in the previous weekend. Naturally, this meant the team would be hungry for redemption, and a look at the shot count was proof of this. In every single period, the Marlies were on the verge of doubling up on the Amerks, eventually outshooting them 38-22. 

Obviously this meant that Nathan Lieuwen had a rough night, but as last night’s loss to Minnesota showed, pucks on net don’t matter unless they go in. In this regard, Toronto was helped out by two of their highest profile names, in William Nylander and Nikita Soshnikov.

Nylander took over the second period, making the most of his opportunities and scoring not one, but two powerplay goals. The nicest of which was this snipe from the point that broke the ice:

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His second goal ended up in the same spot but came as a rebound from a blocked shot. In between, Nylander also had a breakaway opportunity which saw him go glove side rather than blocker only to have his attempted snipe get caught. This series of events does little to discount my theory that Nylander is the real-world Gunnar Stahl. In any event, his performance made him the first in the AHL to hit 25 points this season and leaves him with 26 in 20 games.

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If Nylander was the star of the first half of the game, Nikita Soshnikov was the star of the second. He continued Toronto’s run with a snipe on a shorthanded odd-man rush in the closing minutes of the middle frame, and three minutes into the first, took a solo mission into the slot and banged home another tally. This put the game far out of reach for the Amerks, who had done their best to keep Bernier busy throughout the night, but really couldn’t muster up any significant scoring chances.

Overall, it was a night everybody needed. Mark Arcobello and Gauthier joined Nylander and Sohsnikov in having multi-point nights. TJ Brennan and Kasperi Kapanen kept their recent pursuits of the scoresheet up. Bernier, while not a player who took over this game, got exactly what the doctor ordered; a low-risk, low-challenge game to remind him that hockey is fun, and not torture. This could be the start of a turnaround.

Or, you know, a glitch in the system. But there’s only one way to find out; more hockey. The Marlies return to Ricoh Coliseum tomorrow afternoon to take on the Manitoba Moose.

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    • BarelyComments

      Absolutely barely, as he can return to the big club and try to improve that incredulous, unbelievable, astonishing, Guinness World record 1 and 19 record of he has accomplished since the second half of last year and this year.

    • magesticRAGE

      It is good for everyone. Bernier gets his confidence, raise his play, increase his value, Leaf’s get picks and prospects via Bernier trade, and then the villagers rejoice. Simple

  • BarelyComments

    Tonight was a good night all around! A hat trick for marner, bracco had 2 points, and timashov had a 5 point night getting him up to third in the qmjhl scoring race. Good times!!

  • BarelyComments

    I’m still not impressed with Bernier. A shutout against AHL talent. Reimer has many of those. And Bernier didn’t really support the team by providing some assists or goals. Even

  • magesticRAGE

    I must admit there are a lot of talented young individuals putting a lot of time in analysing future draft picks. One of the better ones is Shane Malloy who I heard on a radio show today. He had some fascinating stats. Such as only 3% of players from the 5th round or lower go on to play 150 games in the N.H.L.

    The number of players on average that will make the N.H.L. from a club that drafts 7 or 8 players is slightly under 2 that will play 150 games in the N.H.L.

    He also pointed out that the Vancouver Canucks have practically no players in the critical 23 to 28 peak years of players. In fact only three of their draft picks out of 28 over a few draft years when the club was a cup contender played over 150 games. None of these three are with the club today.

    One can only hope and pray that the new management teams of both the leafs and Canucks have better records than their predecessors who were absolutely horrid in their selections and over the years insisted on trading off numerous picks for washed up bums.

  • FlareKnight

    It wasn’t a hugely tough game, but oh well. Bernier did all he possibly could in that scenario in getting a shutout. Other than skating out from the net and scoring himself a goal, he did his job. Hopefully he has a good few games here and gets his confidence back. Two good goalies is a positive. Makes it easier to work some trades.

    And props to Nylander and Soshnikov. Both having top notch games. Nylander had a rough night the other game and here was another reminder of how darn good he is. Such a talented player. I just love how we have such good skill on the Marlies and in Junior. We are turning a corner in terms of talent and you can see where the hope for the future is.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Good news all around. Having Bernier suffer brings us all down. He can’t play for the Leafs and has no trade value. Lose-lose.

    Man, the Leafs are going to be good in a few years. Maybe another take-away for Bernier is to be able to play in front of his future. In other words, if he gets his act together, he’ll be able to be in net to watch some great team-mates light it up at the other end. That should be motivating.

    • Jeremy Ian

      Jeremy one can only hope and pray you are right. But in life nothing is guaranteed. I’m certain thousands and thousands of Oiler fans have posted your statement numerous times over the five past years.

      Then again can the drafting even be as horrid as it has been over the past number of decades. Just keeping it real in here. You have to understand that a lot of old time leaf fans have stated your comments every five years. Sadly some of them are now repeating your words for the tenth time since the late 1960’s.

  • Jeremy Ian

    Good I hope Bernier can regain his form, Then we can trade him to the Flames,Oilers or some other team in desperate need for a Goaltender for picks & Prospects