Jonathan Bernier proves his value in debut with Leafs | Hockey | CBC Sports

NHLJonathan Bernier proves his value in debut with Leafs

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | 11:19 PM

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Jonathan Bernier of the Toronto Maple Leafs comes up with a save against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 2, 2013 in Philadelphia. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Jonathan Bernier of the Toronto Maple Leafs comes up with a save against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 2, 2013 in Philadelphia. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Jonathan Bernier didn't beat anybody up in his first regular season game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he justified the organization's decision to acquire him from the Los Angeles Kings.

Jonathan Bernier didn't beat anybody up in his first regular season game with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but he justified the organization's decision to acquire him from the Los Angeles Kings.

The 25-year-old Laval, Que., native watched the first game of the season in Montreal and then supplied the Maple Leafs with quality goaltending in their second game of the season with a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

With Toronto seemingly tired and flat -- go figure; they played Friday and Saturday and then opened with back-to-back games on the road -- Bernier did exactly what coaches say they want from their goalies. He gave the Maple Leafs a chance to win.

That is exactly what they did, winning their second straight game of the season and it also marked consecutive nights in which Toronto's goaltender was the best player of the game. James Reimer was the first star in Toronto's 4-3 victory in Montreal Tuesday. 


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Bernier was solid from start to finish and really stepped up to the plate with 3.1 seconds remaining stopping Wayne Simmonds on a penalty shot after the Flyers winger was tripped en route to the Toronto net by defenceman Paul Ranger.

Bullish on Bolland

When the Maple Leafs acquired centre David Bolland from the Chicago Blackhawks, they knew they were getting not only a two-time Stanley Cup champion, but also a guy who could slide anywhere between the top three lines.

So when coach Randy Carlyle grew dissatisfied with second-line centre Nazem Kadri's performance, he dropped him down a line (after an extended rest on the bench) and slipped Bolland between Joffrey Lupul and Nikolai Kulemin. Bolland responded with his first goal as a Maple Leaf.

The goal Bolland scored previous to his first for Toronto was the one that won the Blackhawks the Stanley Cup last season.

His first goal as a Maple Leaf was the game-winner and his second, scored in the last minute, provided some insurance.

  • New look Vinny: It sure was weird seeing Vinny Lecavalier playing for the Flyers after 14 seasons in Tampa Bay. Lecavalier has been slowed by injuries the past few years, not to mention one of those lifetime contracts that seems to slow players down. He looked decidedly motivated playing for the Flyers showing good moves and a physicality that had disappeared from his game.

  • Ashton nose fighting: Carter Ashton of the Maple Leafs suffered a broken nose in his fight with Montreal's Jarred Tonordi Tuesday. He played against the Flyers wearing a cage.

  • Unsung hero: The Maple Leafs know what centre Jay McClement brings to the table. That's why he was named an alternate captain this season. One night after he played a solid defensive game in Montreal with 13:09 ice time and a shot on goal, he played 18:40 in Philadelphia with a shot on goal and two hits. His solid play in the defensive zone was a big reason why the Maple Leafs were able to climb to 2-0.

  • The lineup: The Maple Leafs went with the same lineup as in Montreal the night before which means 19-year-old defenceman Morgan Rielly sat again. Jake Gardiner struggled on the blue-line in Montreal and was given an iPad tutorial from coach Carlyle prior to the game against the Flyers. Given the fact Carlyle sent Gardiner to the minors for most of last season and the player responded with a great playoff upon being recalled, it is no surprise he was not pulled from the lineup.

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