Los Angeles Kings
coach Terry Murray
meant what he said when he declared that Jonathan Quick
was still his No. 1 goaltender.
The Kings on Friday returned 21-year-old Jonathan Bernier
to their AHL team in Manchester, N.H., one day after he earned his second victory in three days. Bernier shut out Nashville 2-0 on Tuesday and was the winning goaltender in L.A.'s 8-3 victory over Vancouver on Thursday night.
He also beat Dallas 2-1 in a shootout in early March in his first callup, getting a chance to play when Quick left the team for a day to be present at the birth of his child. The second callup came after backup goaltender Erik Ersberg
was sidelined with a strained back; Ersberg was cleared to return to action Thursday after missing two games.
Murray praised Bernier but reaffirmed his commitment to Quick, who has set a franchise record with 39 wins while starting 68 of the Kings' first 75 games and leading the team within sight of its first playoff berth since 2002.
"There's no controversy," Murray said. "(Quick) is a big reason the Kings are where they are. Quicker is our guy ... (but Bernier) is taking advantage of some opportunities to play and show he's a blue-chipper."
As he did following Thursday's game, Murray said Quick will start against the Anaheim Ducks
on Saturday night at Staples Center, and again in the Freeway Faceoff rematch at the Honda Center on Tuesday night.
Bernier became the youngest goalie in Kings history to post a shutout when he blanked the Predators to snap Los Angeles' four-game winless streak. He was named to the AHL's First All-Star team on Thursday after winning 29 games for Manchester with a 2.07 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.
Los Angeles' first-round draft pick (No. 11) in 2006 has allowed just four goals in his three wins this season and owns a .957 save percentage.
"This year I just told myself to go down there and try and dominate, and when I get my chance, I will be ready," Bernier said after stopping 27 shots in the win over Vancouver.