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Kings to start Quebec native Bernier vs. Canadiens

by Brian Hunter
KINGS (13-7-0) at CANADIENS (13-7-1)


Last 10:
Los Angeles 6-4-0; Montreal 6-4-0

Season series:
This is the only meeting of the 2010-11 schedule between these teams. In their most recent matchup, Montreal claimed a 4-2 win in Los Angeles on March 6 as Brian Gionta and Benoit Pouliot each registered a goal and an assist.

Big story: Each team has received top-notch goaltending over the first quarter of the season. Jonathan Quick is showing the franchise-record 39 wins he recorded for the Kings last season was no fluke, as he's second in the NHL in goals-against average (1.90) and fifth in save percentage (.931). Carey Price has silenced his critics by playing in 20 of 21 games for the Canadiens and is tied for the League lead with 12 wins, fourth in GAA (2.05) and third in save percentage (.932).

Team Scope:

Kings: Quick will get a rest on Wednesday as Quebec native Jonathan Bernier gets the nod against the team for which he grew up rooting. Los Angeles coach Terry Murray has given the rookie one-third of the work this season -- he's 2-4-0 with a 3.18 GAA and .891 save percentage over his first six starts. Quick had a bit of an off night Monday, stopping only 16 of 19 shots in a 3-2 loss in Ottawa, but the talk afterward was a pair of disallowed goals for the Kings, including the potential tying score by Ryan Smyth with three seconds remaining. It was ruled Smyth had his stick above the crossbar when he scored.

"I think all of us, we're going to have our opinion that it's a goal," Murray said. "Ottawa is going to have their opinion that it's not a goal. That's the way it goes. You'll get your calls sometimes. It will work the other way and, as they say, it comes out in the end, so we'll just move on and get ready for Montreal."

Canadiens: Price had shutouts in two of his three starts last week, one of them against Philadelphia, but the Flyers paid him back when the teams met again Monday. Maxim Lapierre staked Montreal to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of goals 4:16 apart in the first period, but the Canadiens gave up a goal to Ville Leino with 5:07 left in the second and two more in the third in a 3-2 defeat.

"We dominated the first period and it was the reverse in the second," coach Jacques Martin said. "They dominated the second and took some momentum away and the third period continued by just getting pucks in deep and outworking us in our zone."

Who's hot: Justin Williams (9-12-21) leads the Kings in scoring and has been held without a point in only three games. … Jeff Halpern assisted on both of Lapierre's goals and has 13 points this season -- he had only 19 points in 71 games last season for the Lightning and Kings.

Injury report:
Los Angeles defenseman Willie Mitchell (broken wrist) and forwards Alexei Ponikarovsky (broken finger) and Scott Parse (hip) are on injured reserve. … Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury.

Stat pack:
Alec Martinez, a defenseman with four games of NHL experience for the Kings last season, was recalled by the team Tuesday. Martinez led Manchester of the AHL in scoring with 16 points, including 5 goals. … Halpern has 5 goals this season on just 18 shots, a 27.8 shooting percentage.

Puck drop:
"Obviously, I've been watching the Montreal Canadiens for a long time," Bernier said in describing his emotions leading up to this game. "When I was really young, I was hoping to play (for them). When you're young, you try to see yourself out there. I was hoping to get drafted by Montreal when I was young, but now it's going to be a great feeling."

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