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Jonathan Bernier’s conditioning stint with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies has gone better than one would expect.
The Marlies beat the Utica Comets 2-0 on Friday night, with Bernier stopping 27 shots for his third straight shutout. Since being sent down from the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier this month, the netminder has saved all 70 shots he’s faced.
When the idea was presented to him to play in the AHL for a few games Bernier was open to it. Through nine starts with the Maple Leafs he's 0-8-1 with a .903 even strength save percentage. With Garret Sparks and James Reimer playing well at the time, the demotion made sense to give him starts in order to try and get his game and confidence back.
“I’m not playing well, and that’s on me,” Bernier said after he was sent down, via the Toronto Star. “It’s not on anyone else, I take full responsibility for this. I’m looking to find my game and have some fun as well. I think that’s important … go out there (with the Marlies), no pressure, and have some fun.”
It’s worked, and Bernier will likely get one more start with the Marlies on Sunday at home against Utica. The Maple Leafs do not play until Tuesday, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him recalled sometime this week as the NHL side continues a four-game homestand before hitting the road for three games.
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