Bernier…saved the first shot.
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) December 20, 2015
Bernier saved the first shot… and the second shot… and the next 24 after that, too.
A 5-0 win against the Kings for Jonathan Bernier’s first victory of the season- just like everyone predicted.
Bernier (finally!) got the monkey off his back, earning his shutout of the year in impressive fashion.
Through the opening 40 or so minutes, this game had the feeling of a 2-1 overtime loss for the Leafs, because that’d be so Toronto and also very LA. Leo Komarov’s goal 5:31 into the opening frame was the lone marker in the first two periods.
While the goal ultimately proved decisive, a Michael Grabner pair in a ten-minute put the Leafs up three heading into the game’s final moments. Not to be outdone, Komarov banged home a rebound just over three minutes later, before Byron Froese saw this as good a game as any to register his first career NHL goal at the age of 24.
The Leafs didn’t exactly overpower the Kings with chances, and the game really didn’t open up until the final ten minutes or so. However, the Leafs did stick toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the league for the whole contest- and were rewarded kindly for their efforts. The Leafs blocked 16 shots on the night, which definitely played a part in limiting LA’s opportunities. Bernier looked calm, cool, and collected in net, and was able to keep the contest close before the Leafs ended up running away with it.
Froese, Shawn Matthias, and Brad Boyes all registered over 70% Corsi despite all having 20 % offensive zone starts. That’s… weird, but the trio all had a very solid night and were noticeable throughout.
It’d be unfair to award anyone but Bernier this after the tough season he’s had, despite a pair of two-goal efforts from Leo Komarov and Michael Grabner, who also added a pair of assists. On any other night, the pair could probably split the honour, but Bernier’s victory overshadows the two strong efforts.
The Leafs travel to Denver to take on the Avalanche Monday at 9 p.m. for their penultimate game before the holiday break.