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Game Thread: Bernier gets hometown start as Kings visit Habs

L – A , L-A, L-A BayBaaayyy – Gee can you tell I get stuck watching Jonas Bros. with the 10-year-old on occasion?

But on to business, where the Los Angeles Kings (13-7-0) visit the Montreal Canadiens (13-7-1) in their lone regular season matchup.

Laval native Jonathan Bernier will get his first career against the Canadiens and his first start at the Bell Centre, Hmmm, should we be worried about a French-Canadian visiting goalie playing in Montreal???

On the plus, Bernier is 2-4-0 this season, with all four losses coming on the road. Wait, let’s recap again, French-Canadian goalie, playing in his hometown, and due for a win….

Carey Price will get his 21st start of the season for the Canadiens, after his team hung him out to dry in the last two periods of Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Kings are currently 5th in the Western Conference, and are 6-4 in their last ten games.

Like the Canadiens on Monday, they have been having difficulty hanging on to leads, despite their stats when leading after one or two periods. They managed to blow a three goal lead on Saturday, before beating the Boston Bruins in a shootout. On Monday they let a 2-1 lead slip away in a loss to the Ottawa Senators. Overall the Kings are 1-4 in their last five games and held a lead, at some point , in all five contests.

Last season the Kings did well at protecting leads, going 29-0-2 when leading after two periods. Coach Terry Murray is hoping a hometown start for the backup goalie will help motivate not just Bernier, but the entire team. More on that and Bernier’s reaction to playing at home from the Los Angeles Times.

Both teams share a similarity on special teams. The Kings are actually worse than the Canadiens on the power play, sitting 24th (14.8%), and are 6th on the penalty kill (86.9%). Montreal is 21st and 1st respectively.

There will certainly be anonymity between Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, and several members of the Kings team. The Habs rearguard played on Canada’s 2008 World Jr. Championship with Drew Doughty, Bernier and Wayne Simmonds. The Globe and Mail looks at the group and how they will separate business from friendship on the ice Wednesday.

The Canadiens faced a bag skate before Monday’s practice, and coach Jacques Martin appears to have tweaked his lines again, sitting out Yannick Weber.

Price meanwhile is leading the Eastern Conference goalies in All-Star Balloting as a write-in player. A great look at Price’s turnaround start to the 2010-11 campaign from Arpon Basu.

The Canadiens netminder has just one career start against the Kings, a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre on January 31, 2009.

The Habs hold a lifetime 86-27-0 record against the Kings with 20 ties. They are 47-8-0 at home.

Who would have thought: Jeff Halpern already has 13 points this season, good enough for fourth in team scoring. In 71 games last season, with Los Angeles and the Tampa Bay Lightning, he had 19 points.



Andrei KostitsynTomas PlekanecBrian Gionta

Travis MoenScott GomezMike Cammalleri

Tom Pyatt – Jeff Halpern – Maxim Lapierre

Benoit PouliotLars EllerMathieu Darche

Defense Pairings

Roman HamrlikJaroslav Spacek

Hal GillJosh Gorges

P.K. Subban – Alexandre Picard


Carey Price – Alex Auld

Following what the “Royal Watchers” are saying at Jewels From The Crown

Weighing in on the Habs and the game: When not updating things here, I will be joining the crew from The Checking Line, on a live panel and blog starting at 6:30pm. Kamal Panesar of Habs Addict  ans Iain Carnegie of Bleed Bleu Blanc et Rouge will also be on the panel.

Earlier this week we weighed in on current issues affecting the Canadiens.


First Period

1. MTL Andrei Kostitsyn (PP) (Darche, Kostitsyn) 9:59

2. Mike Cammalleri (Hamrlik, Gomez) 17:37

Second Period

3. LA Alec Martinez (PP) (Smyth, Williams) 1:57

4. MTL Tomas Plekanec (Gionta, Kostitsyn) 3:16

5. MTL Lars Eller (Alexandre Picard, Benoit Pouliot) 18:07

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