Final in Montreal: Canadiens 4, Kings 1
They were outhit, outworked, outclassed and outsmarted Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Canadiens at the jubilant Bell Centre, making goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s homecoming a nightmare instead of the dream he had long cherished.
The Kings’ fifth defeat in six games could not be blamed on Bernier, who grew up in nearby Laval. As a team they played so badly in their defensive zone that no goalie could have fared much better—not Jonathan Quick or the ghosts of Jacques Plante and Georges Vezina combined.
The Canadiens are fast and skilled, and they've won six of their last eight games. But the Kings' helplessness made them look that much more commanding.
The Kings (13-8-0) haven’t won in Montreal since Dec. 11, 1999, though that’s only five games because of the unbalanced schedule and the season lost to the lockout. But the way they played Wednesday in ending a 1-3 trip won’t win them many games against anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Montreal’s Andrei Kostitsyn and Michael Cammalleri scored first-period goals — a scoring change gave that second goal to the former King after replays showed his shot deflected off a Kings player — and Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller gave the Canadiens a comfortable cushion in the second period, after Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, recalled Tuesday from Manchester of the American Hockey League, had scored a power-play goal to cut Montreal’s lead to 2-1.
Martinez’s goal was the only shot among 25 to elude goalie Carey Price, who has appeared in all but one game this season for the Canadiens (14-7-1).
The Kings were scheduled to take a charter flight home to Los Angeles after the game, a trip that surely couldn’t be pleasant. But neither was their performance Wednesday.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports
Helene Elliott in Montreal
Photo: Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. Credit: Graham Hughes / Associated Press