Kings change goalie schedule, move Drewiske up to left wing against Detroit
Coach Terry Murray said he has “erased everything” from the goalie schedule he had drawn up for games through the start of January to give Jonathan Quick more work and backup Jonathan Bernier less work.
Before Saturday’s games Quick ranked fourth in the NHL with a 1.92 goals-against average, tied for sixth in wins (12) and sixth in save percentage at .928 in 17 appearances. Bernier, widely projected to be a rookie of the year candidate, has struggled in compiling a 3.29 goals-against average and .889 save percentage. He has lost his last three starts and is 2-5-0 this season.
Quick was always scheduled to face the Western Conference-leading Detroit Red Wings Saturday night at Staples Center and that will happen. But Murray said Bernier won’t be ignored in the coming weeks.
“With the schedule being what it is right now I’m looking at Quick playing the majority of those games,” Murray said after the Kings’ morning skate in El Segundo.
“I like the way Bernier is practicing, the way his game is coming together again in the drills. So I’m not going to leave him sit there for the rest of the month and not give him some opportunities. We have some games coming up that I’m going to take a look at. Certainly, post-Christmas there’s four in five nights. There’s got to be something there.”
Murray said Bernier benefited from a three days’ work here last week with Kim Dillabaugh, who is in charge of goaltending development. Bill Ranford, the goaltending coach, has also worked with both goalies.
But Murray, who has acknowledged that he played Quick too much last season and tired the young goalie before the playoffs, said he will be mindful of that this season. Quick, 24, jumped from playing 2,495 minutes in the 2008-09 season to 4,258 last season and was by far the youngest goalie to play that many minutes.
“A lot of it is going to be dictated, too, by how Bernier is going to play in the games as we get him going back into games,” Murray said. “If we’re seeing that player that I anticipated then I can place him in games and give Quick that rest that we talked about through the summertime.
"I’m going to be very aware of how things went at the end of last year for Quicker as far as the number of games. The intensity of the game picks up and I’ll try to be very aware again of the importance of the rest as we get into the heavy part of the schedule post-All Star break, middle of January.”
Murray also said he will make one change from the lineup he used in Thursday’s 3-2 victory over Florida. He planned to restore Davis Drewiske to the lineup but to deploy the defenseman on the fourth line at left wing, a position he had Drewiske play a few times last season.
Brad Richardson will be in the middle and John Zeiler will be on the right side on that line.
The change allows defenseman Peter Harrold — who scored a goal against Florida --to stay in the lineup but pushes out enforcer Kevin Westgarth.
"When we play Detroit, in my history of playing against them, we’re not going to need the heavyweight,” Murray said. “Harrold had a real good game the other night. He scored, I know, but he played well. He and Jack [Johnson] seemed to hit it off anytime that they’re paired up together and had a good game and I don’t want to change that up.”
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-- Helene Elliott
Photo: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick makes a save against Florida on Thursday. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images