Look up the astrological sign Leo the Lion as in the one Jonathan Bernier features on his mask and you get the following. "Confident ... possess a kingdom they cherish and protect ... fully capable of being greatly successful on their own but much happier if they have an audience and a following who look up to them." Sounds bang on for Bernier at least for his first four games as a Maple Leaf: Three wins one shutout and a one-goal loss where he was arguably their best player. Coach Randy Carlyle loves to say how Bernier "absorbs" the puck cutting down on loose rubber the subsequent scoring chances and those confounded giveaways. The Leafs remain last in that latter team stat but since Bernier relieved James Reimer a week ago they've dropped from 33 against the Senators to 16 in the defeat to Colorado to 11 in Bernier's shutout of Nashville on Thursday. "He's a patch of velcro back there -- there are no rebounds" said defenceman Cody Franson on Friday. "He's very athletic and makes a lot of tough saves look easy. He gets across the crease really well. "He reads shots even the ones he does have to fight through traffic for. There is a big skill set behind him." Winger Troy Bodie who played in Anaheim when Bernier was with the rival Kings was impressed with what he saw the few times Bernier displaced Jonathan Quick in L.A. "He's given us great confidence" Bodie said. "What's great is he's always in position he's not scrambling to make plays. He's just always there. It's pretty much what I expected from him." A few Leafs held their breath on Thursday when the game was still close and Predators defenceman Shea Weber wound up with his home-run swing. "He really gobbled it up" Bodie said of the snap glove save. Bernier sits third in NHL save percentage at .974 though the only two goaltenders ahead of him before Friday's games were ex-Leafs J-S Giguere and Ben Scrivens in their token appearances with the Avs and Kings.
Bernier gives Maple Leafs 'great confidence'
Toronto Sun | Oct 12