EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings used to have the luxury of a legitimate No. 1 goalie as a backup to Jonathan Quick. Thursday, they will see that goalie at the other end of the ice.
Jonathan Bernier is expected to make his first appearance at Staples Center since he was traded from the Kings to the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer.
"I think anytime you play a team that you previously played for, I never experienced it, but the type of environment coming back [is intense]," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "The best example is probably [Robyn Regehr returning to Calgary] a couple of weeks ago. It's always extra motivation for those guys."
Bernier was seen as the Kings' goalie of the future after they chose him 11th in the 2006 NHL Draft. But the development of Quick eventually made it clear Bernier wouldn't be the No. 1. He played 62 games for Los Angeles in four seasons and was traded to Toronto for goalie Ben Scrivens, wing Matt Frattin and a second-round draft pick.
Bernier lost to L.A. on Dec. 11 in Toronto, his first game against his former teammates. He is 8-1-2 in his past 11 games.
"He's a good goalie," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "He's having a hell of a year. I don't think he needs any extra motivation. He's a great kid and he's learned, but we have to focus on trying to beat him tomorrow. It will be good to see him, but we want to beat him."
Quick is one win away from tying Rogie Vachon for first on the Kings all-time wins list at 170.
Sutter also is on the verge of a milestone; he is one win away from 500, which would tie him with Toe Blake for 17th in NHL history. Sutter predictably downplayed it.
"I think in today's game the most important part is percentages," Sutter said. "You get extra points now. You get one point, so it's way more important. It's like when you get the 1,000th game [as a coach] thing. You're able to do it over a long period of time, so that means you can do that. But the winning, the percentages are what's more important, because … that allows you to be a playoff team, and I'm more into how many playoff games you're in as a coach than anything else. I'd rather have a whole lot of playoff games than anything else. It's the only reason you do it."
Here are the projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Kings:
James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
David Clarkson - Nazem Kadri - Joffrey Lupul
Mason Raymond - Nikolai Kulemin - Troy Bodie
Carter Ashton - Jay McClement - Colton Orr
Dion Phaneuf - Carl Gunnarsson
Cody Franson - Jake Gardiner
Tim Gleason - Morgan Rielly
Scratched: Paul Ranger, Peter Holland
Injured: Dave Bolland (ankle)
Marian Gaborik – Anze Kopitar – Justin Williams
Tyler Toffoli – Mike Richards – Jeff Carter
Dwight King – Jarret Stoll – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Trevor Lewis – Jordan Nolan
Jake Muzzin – Drew Doughty
Robyn Regehr – Slava Voynov
Willie Mitchell - Alec Martinez
Scratched: Matt Greene, Tanner Pearson
Nolan is expected to return after he served a one-game suspension for punching Jesse Joensuu of the Edmonton Oilers. Pearson and Greene stayed out with the extras.