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Bernier shines in NHL debut as Kings top Ducks

Sep 29, 2007 - 8:49 PM
LONDON (Ticker) -- The Anaheim Ducks traveled overseas to begin the defense of their Stanley Cup championship. It was not exactly a smashing success for the California-based club.

Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves and Michael Cammalleri scored a pair of goals as the Los Angeles Kings opened the 90th NHL season with a 4-1 triumph over the Ducks on Saturday in the first game of the two-game Premiere Series at the O2 Arena.

The teams conclude the league's first regular-season venture to Europe here on Sunday.

The 11th overall selection in the 2006 draft, Bernier impressed Kings coach Marc Crawford enough during training camp to earn the start in the team's season opener. The 19-year-old Quebec native did not disappoint in his first NHL appearance, stopping the first 25 shots he faced before Bobby Ryan spoiled the shutout bid with just under seven minutes to go in the third period.

"I just block the crowd out," said Bernier, who spent the previous three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. "I felt good and was just focused so I didn't get nervous. It was cool out there, and I'm ready for this challenge."

"I'm happy tonight for our team, starting with our goaltender," Crawford said. "I don't think you could have expected a better game from a 19-year-old goaltender. There was a lot of pressure on him tonight, and he looked like a real solid, solid goaltender. Not very many pucks bounced off him and he made a couple of great saves."

Much like in the final two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, the Ducks had discipline problems, collecting eight penalties over the first 41 minutes of the game. The Kings took full advantage, scoring three power-play goals to take control.

Cammalleri got things started 8 1/2 minutes into the contest, which had its start delayed due to a lighting problem in the arena. With defenseman Shane Hnidy and Rob Niedermayer both sitting in the penalty box, Cammalleri - who led Los Angeles in scoring in 2006-07 with 80 points - fired a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle past goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov at 8:35 for the first goal of the season.

In the middle session, newly anointed captain Rob Blake gave the Kings a 2-0 lead with another man-advantage tally. Anze Kopitar's shot from the right circle was stopped by Bryzgalov, but Blake was on the doorstep to push in the rebound at 10:15.

New Anaheim captain Chris Pronger, who took over the post from Scott Niedermayer as the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner contemplates retirement, was called for tripping just 18 seconds into the third period. It took Los Angeles just 52 seconds to cash in, as defenseman Tom Preissing one-timed a rising shot from the right point that Cammalleri tipped past Bryzgalov at 1:10 for a 3-0 cushion.

Despite his impressive performance, Cammalleri was more enthralled with the play of Bernier.

"We were really excited about the way Jonathan played," he said. "He's going to be one of the best. He played well. It's so surreal and exciting. I remember those first few games I played. It's a dream come true. He looked comfortable out there and his game was on."

Cammalleri enjoyed playing in front of the sellout British crowd.

"I love London," he said. "The crowd was interesting. They got into it right away. It felt like a North American hockey crowd. Having played in front of it was pretty cool. There were waves going on, like in soccer games. The atmosphere was great."

The second overall pick in 2005, Ryan gathered the rebound of Pronger's wrister from the blue line in the low slot and switched to his backhand before lifting the puck over the outstretched right leg of Bernier at 13:09 for a power-play tally. The 20-year-old Ryan also was making his NHL debut.

"Making your NHL debut is something you'll never forget," he said. "A game like this is great, and to do it overseas is incredible for me. ... I was certainly a little nervous, and the delay didn't help at all."

Bernier kept it a two-goal game by making a big pad save on Corey Perry near the right goalpost with less than a minute remaining. Michal Handzus sealed the victory with a shorthanded empty-netter moments later.

Kopitar collected two assists for the Kings, who went 3-for-8 on the power play. Conversely, the Ducks scored just once on eight man-advantage opportunities.

"We had chances, but we didn't take them, and I think that was the difference in the game," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "(We) missed a 5-on-3 early, and when you don't score on 5-on-3s, it comes back to haunt you later in the hockey game."

Bryzgalov stopped 17 shots for Anaheim, which fell to 4-10-0 in season openers.








  • AT LONDON
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ANAHEIM 0 0 1 1
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 1 (LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY,
    ALEXANDER FROLOV) 8:35
    2ND PRD: LOS - (PP) ROB BLAKE 1 (ANZE KOPITAR, DUSTIN BROWN) 10:15
    3RD PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 2 (TOM PREISSING, ANZE

    Sep 29 2:59 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL ANAHEIM 1
    LOS ANGELES 4
    3RD PRD: LOS - (EN) MICHAL HANDZUS 1 (PATRICK O'SULLIVAN) 19:34

    Ducks vs. KingsSep 29 2:57 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL ANAHEIM 1
    LOS ANGELES 3
    3RD PRD: ANA - (PP) BOBBY RYAN 1 (CHRIS PRONGER) 13:09

    Ducks vs. KingsSep 29 2:44 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL ANAHEIM 0
    LOS ANGELES 3
    3RD PRD: LOS - (PP) TOM PREISSING 1 (ANZE KOPITAR) 18:50

    Ducks vs. KingsSep 29 2:23 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ANAHEIM 0 0 0
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 1 (LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY,
    ALEXANDER FROLOV) 8:35
    2ND PRD: LOS - (PP) ROB BLAKE 1 (ANZE KOPITAR, DUSTIN BROWN) 10:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- -

    Sep 29 2:02 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL ANAHEIM 0
    LOS ANGELES 2
    2ND PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 2 (ANZE KOPITAR) 10:15

    Ducks vs. KingsSep 29 1:48 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ANAHEIM 0 0
    LOS ANGELES 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 1 (LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY,
    ALEXANDER FROLOV) 8:35
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ANA 7 7
    LOS 7 7


    Sep 29 1:08 PM


  • AT LONDON
    NHL ANAHEIM 0
    LOS ANGELES 1
    1ST PRD: LOS - (PP) MICHAEL CAMMALLERI 1 (LUBOMIR VISNOVSKY, ALEXANDER
    FROLOV) 8:35 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Ducks vs. KingsSep 29 12:51 PM
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