The LAKings.com Guitar Hero of the month for September is none other than rookie goaltender Jonathan Bernier
Bernier defied expectations and out-performed veterans Jason LaBarbera, Dan Cloutier and J-S Aubin to earn the Kings No. 1 netminder spot with a dazzling preseason in which he went 1-1-0, with a 2.44 GAA and a .921 SV%.
That performance earned Bernier the start in the Kings season opener, which also happened to be played in a distant land in London, England, not to mention the fact that it was against the Kings geographical rivals and defending Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks.
Bernier rose to the occassion, stopping 26-of-27 shots as the Kings prevailed 4-1 on Sept. 29.
Prior to that game, the only two teenage goaltenders to start a game for the Kings were Jamie Storr, who started for the Kings in net at 19 years, 27 days in a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Jan. 24, 1995 and Mark Fitzpatrick, who started on Nov. 6, 1988, winning 5-3 at the age of 19 years, 359 days.
Bernier, who at just 19 years, 53 days old as of Sept. 29, was the youngest opening day goalie in Kings history and was the second youngest ever to make a start in net for the Kings. The previous youngest opening night goaltender was Gary Laskoske, he of 23 years, 122 days, starting for the Kings on Oct. 6, 1982 in a 3-3 draw with the Vancouver Canucks.
Bernier was Los Angeles' 1st round choice, 11th overall, in 2006. The rookie finished the month of September with a 1-0-0 mark, a 1.00 GAA and a .963 SV% to edge out Michael Cammalleri, who had three goals in two games and Patrick O'Sullivan, who tallied two assists and saw lots of ice time on the Kings Penalty Kill.