Jonathan Bernier pulled in Leafs' loss to Islanders
Toronto netminder surrenders 6 goals on 15 shots
Jonathan Bernier knows he needs to be better in his next game, whenever that might be.
Bernier was beaten by the second shot of the game and struggled the rest of the night — giving up six goals on just 15 shots through two periods of play — as the New York Islanders doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3 to split a home-and-home set.
"I don't think I was ready, I wasn't good enough tonight," said Bernier. "Wasn't my game, I wasn't good and I just have to be better next game."
Bernier was pulled for the recently returned James Reimer to start the third period. Toronto plays the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Reimer is expected to start. If he shows he's fully recovered from his groin injury, it could mean a long spell on the bench for the struggling Bernier.
The 27-year-old goaltender, who has had difficulty coming up big when needed this year, highlighted New York's third goal as a missed opportunity to keep his team in the game.
After taking a pass from Nick Leddy at Toronto's blue line, Frans Nielsen blew by a flat-footed Dion Phaneuf and beat Bernier five-hole with a backhand at 17:45 of the first to make it 3-1 Islanders.
"I wasn't able to make the big save, especially in the first on the breakaway and that could have changed the game," said Bernier.
Bernier is 3-10-3 this season and in the 2015 calendar year has gone 9-30-7 with a 3.16 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.
Brock Nelson, John Tavares, Nikolay Kulemin, Matt Martin and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders (20-12-5) while Thomas Greiss turned aside 30-of-33 shots for the win.
Brad Boyes, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Shawn Matthias had goals for the Maple Leafs (13-15-7), who beat New York 3-1 on Sunday at Barclays Center.
Reimer, who made his first appearance in net since missing seven games, made six saves in relief of Bernier.
Leafs coach Mike Babcock thought about turning to Reimer earlier in the game, but stayed cautious because he didn't want to send in a cold goalie with what he considered terrible ice conditions.
"The ice was so bad tonight, nothing like we've ever seen," said Babcock. "I was scared of his groin. I went to him in between [periods] to make sure. You wanna give him time to warm up....that's what the thought process was."
Nelson put New York ahead 1-0 when he cut to the middle of the slot and beat Bernier with a low wrist shot two minutes into the game.
The Islanders' lead didn't last long, as Boyes scored 39 seconds later when he picked up a rebound at the top of the crease and put it past a sprawling Greiss.
New York restored its advantage when Josh Bailey put a slap-pass towards the front of the net that an open Tavares re-directed over Bernier's blocker at 11:51. It was just the fourth shot Bernier had faced up to that point.
"I just need to produce," said Tavares, who entered the night with just one goal in his last 10 games. "Have to find a way to get the puck in the net, whether its me, my opportunities or creating more for my linemates."