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the opening week of 2010,
TORONTO – Under the strain of a no. Tomas Tatar Jersey . 1 gig in the NHL for the very first time, Jonathan Bernier has learned that its best to do little with off-nights from the grueling schedule, condensed as it is in an Olympic year. "I go home and watch TV and just rest," he said with a smile. "But thats what you need to do to be successful. Thats what Im going to do." And thats precisely what the Maple Leafs need him to do. Outside of the incomparable Phil Kessel, no player means more to Torontos fortunes down the stretch and into a hopeful postseason run than the 25-year-old between the pipes. Freed from the shadows of Jonathan Quick, Bernier has shined brilliantly in his first go-around as an NHL starter, minding the fort on most nights in front of a poor defensive team. The Laval, Quebec native ranks sixth in save percentage amongst goaltenders with at least 30 starts, this despite facing more shots than anyone but Mike Smith – Smith, of course, making nine more starts. Whether Bernier has the juice to maintain such a performance down the stretch could very well determine his teams fate. Though theyve scored in droves all year, the Leafs have also struggled badly to defend, requiring Bernier to fend off a barrage of 35, 40 and sometimes 50 shots against on many nights. His efforts have rarely wavered in spite of the workload. Berniers best month in terms of save percentage was October when he posted a sterling .933 mark, his worst coming more recently in January with a still respectable .916 showing. The Leafs – who allow a league-high of more than 36 shots per game – would not be on the firm ground of a playoff spot currently without such feats. "I knew my biggest challenge this year was going to be consistency," he told the Leaf Report, "to be good every night and hopefully, once in a while, be great and steal a few games for your team. Thats my main goal, to be good every night and give a chance to my team to win. But thats hard. When you havent played that much (as a starter) you feel tired a lot more than you are usually so its more like a grind mentally to push yourself to be better every day and work hard in practice. "Why (Henrik) Lundqvist is known as the best is hes going to be good every night and hes going to be great once in a while. Thats how you become the best is consistency. You can have one good year and then youre not going to be the best because youve got to prove it over and over. Thats what makes you a great player." Not since the 2009-10 season has Bernier played anywhere near this many games (40 starts) and that was when he was a Manchester Monarch in the AHL. His performance then was eye-catching. Then just 21, he posted a league-leading .936 save percentage during the regular season – Nathan Lawson was second at .922 – raising his level even higher in the playoffs with a .939 mark that again topped every one of his Calder Cup counterparts. All of which makes his performance this season if not surprising then reaffirming of the promise he showed early and often as a highly-touted prospect in the Kings organization. The question lingering now is whether he can continue to perform down the stretch or whether the strain of a sometimes painstaking load in Toronto will prove too much to bear. It will be worthwhile testing ground for the 11th pick in the 06 draft and could ultimately decide the Leafs fate this season. They remain a bad defensive team even with his heroics, ranking fifth to last in goals against. If he falters theres every chance they too falter as well (James Reimer lurks in the background in that case as a proven, if not unused, alternative). Bernier was on point in the final lead-up to the 18-day Olympic stoppage, but was scuffed up in his first two starts afterward, yielding nine goals combined in overtime losses to the Islanders and Canadiens. Off-nights like that will challenge the Leafs playoff push. Theyve required great goaltending to get to this point and will need more of the same in the final 20 games, the bulk of which Bernier is in line to start. Bernier for his part is doing what he can to remain sharp in the final leg of the regular season race. Earlier this season he noted that perhaps the greatest challenge of reassuming control of no. 1 duties is the mental focus required each and every night through an exhausting schedule, not simply the physical wear and tear associated with the job.  "Its all about rest and feeling good about yourself and making sure you eat properly, you rest, you sleep good," he said. "Those are the things that are going to get you through a full season to be mentally sharp." Ambition is certainly high for Bernier. He wants to be great and the Leafs, at this stage, need him to be great, gambled when they acquired him that he could be great. "I dont want to look too far ahead," he said, "but my goal is to be the best I can be. Its going to take a few years to get that name (for myself) … but right now Im going day by day and enjoying to play games. Thats what Ive been waiting for and it feels good." Vegas Golden Knights Jerseys . Lowry and the Raptors officially announced a four-year US$48 million dollar deal Thursday. The deal was reported last week but couldnt be made official until Thursday, when the moratorium on signings was lifted. "They were real factors. I did my homework. Keegan Kolesar Jersey . "I honestly dont know," he said. Try this: 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds by Rajon Rondo, a 62-37 rebounding advantage by the Celtics and a horrible 4-for-30 shooting performance on 3-pointers by the Nets. . Hes had three top-10 results this season and feels ready to put it all together and finally hoist a trophy at the top level.MONTREAL -- Montreal Alouettes coach Tom Higgins said this week he was waiting for his offence to explode, and they picked a playoff game to do it. With third string running back Brandon Rutley leading the way with 95 yards on 15 carries, the Alouettes piled up 215 rushing yards in a 50-17 trouncing of the B.C. Lions in the CFL East Division semifinal on Sunday afternoon. Its a great feeling to be doing this and be in this position, said Rutley, who stepped into the lineup when Tyrell Sutton hurt an ankle in the final regular season game, a 29-15 loss at Hamilton. We have so much talent and, when it comes together like this, its magic out there. The victory bought Montreal a return ticket to Hamilton to face the Tiger-Cats in the East final next Sunday. They hope to stay on the roll that started in mid-season, when they bounced back from a 1-7 start to win nine of their next 11 games. Jonathan Crompton completed 14 of 21 passes for only 155 yards, but they included touchdown tosses to S.J. Green and Duron Carter. The Alouettes tied a team record for rushing TDs in a playoff game with four, as backup quarterback Tanner Marsh ran in twice and Rutley and Chris Rainey each scored one. Defensive back Jerald Brown also scored on a team-record 103-yard fumble return. B.C. ended its season with only two wins in its last eight games. Including one-sided losses to Edmonton and Calgary to end the regular season, the Lions were outscored 120-36 in their final three games. The Lions finished fourth in the West but crossed over because they had a better record than the Easts third-place team, the Toronto Argonauts. Montreal is 4-0 all-time against crossover opponents, with three of those wins against the Lions. B.C. starting quarterback Kevin Glenn went 6 for 18 for only 64 yards with two interceptions before Travis Partridge took over in the third quarter. Star QB Travis Lulay, who missed 20 of the last 21 games, dressed but was not deemed fit enough to get into the game. Theres no way to explain it, said B.C. coach Mike Benevides, whose team trailed 50-3 before Partridge threw late TD passes to Shawn Gore and Ernest Jackson, mostly against Montreals second string defenders. The third quarter was disastrous. At halftime, it was a 12-point game. They executed at a high level. They made plays and we didnt make any. Montreal led 15-3 at the half, but broke open the game with 21 points in the third quarter on three rushing TDs. We were getting good push up front, said Montreal tackle Josh Bourke. We stuck with the run game. When playoff football occurs, its about running the ball and playing good defence. We made some nice touchdown passes in there too, but we set the tone by running the ball. Rutley had quite a season. He was invited to training camp after a tryout, but was let go. When tailback Brandon Whitaker was injured late in the season, he was called back and put on the practice roster. Then Sutton went down and he suddenly became the starter. Its an amazing journey and I want it to continue, said Rutley. Now the Alouettes need to carry the confidence gained against B.C. into Hamilton, where they lost with turnovers and weak play in the regular season finale. Thats the regular season, they won that one, said linebacker Bear Woods. Were going to win this one. Asked if that meant he was guaranteeing victory, Woods said: Im guaranteeing it and I hope theyre guaranteeing theyll beat us. Thats the mentality that both teams have. Itll make for a great footbaall game for all the fans in the CFL. Max Pacioretty Jersey. There were plenty of empty seats at Percival Molson Stadium as only 15,107 turned out to the 23,500-seat venue on a chilly day with a few snowflakes. There wasnt a lot to see until late in a slow first half marked by dropped passes on both sides, but then Montreal took apart the B.C. defence the rest of the way. The first quarter saw only Sean Whytes punt single go up on the board. The Lions thought theyd thwarted a drive when Adam Bighill intercepted near the goal-line, but an illegal contact penalty on Cord Parks instead gave Montreal the ball on the B.C. 10. On the next play, Crompton found Green behind Parks in a corner of the end zone at 9:20 of the second. Glenn answered with an eight-play drive capped by Paul McCallums 30-yard field goal. A roughing call against Ryan Phillips helped keep alive Montreals return drive and Crompton hit Carter over the middle for a TD at 13:51 for a 15-3 halftime lead. Montreal opened the second half with a nine-play 79-yard drive on which Rutley carried four times in a row to the B.C. 2. Marsh ran it in at 5:25. Woods picked off a Glenn pass and, set up by a 29-yard toss to Green, Rutley ran in from the four at 10:41 to all but put the victory in the bank. Things got strange when Partridge took over at QB for the Lions next possession. He threw a short pass to Marc Ianuzzi, who attempted to punt the ball only to see it dribble forward, giving Montreal the ball on the 3. Marsh ran it in two plays later at 13:01 As if things couldnt get worse for B.C., Tim Brown ran a kickoff back to the Montreal 12, only to see Stefan Logan fumble and Brown run it back 103 yards for a TD at 4:01 of the fourth quarter. Finally, with 2:14 left, Partridge found Gore for an eight-yard TD pass and Logan scored the two-point convert. Brown returned a punt to the Montreal eight and Partridge hit Jackson for the TD, but this time, the two-point attempt failed. It was the most points Montreal has scored this season. Their next best was a 38-31 win at home over Hamilton on Sept. 7. It was a team win,said Woods. Our offence was able to score points. Its been rare that weve had that type of support from our offence, to where our defence got some rest and was able to play at that high level the whole game. Alouettes defensive end John Bowman left with a rib ailment in the third quarter and did not return. Higgins said Bowman could have come back but they decided to keep him out as a precaution. As for the weak attendance, Alouettes president Mark Weightman said it was tough selling an outdoor game in November when the team only found out it would be in the semifinal last week. Weve had a great sequence to end the season, but weve had a couple of years now where we havent had as much success, he said. I dont think a good second half is necessarily going to re-convince 100 per cent of your fans, you need to show you can win consistently over a longer period of time. There were probably still some skeptical fans who werent sure about this game and thinking what would happen. Hopefully, 50-17 will convince them. Notes -- The last time Montreal scored 50 points in game was the opening week of 2010, a 54-51 loss in overtime to Saskatchewan. . . The loss ends the run of three straight years in which a team playing at home won the Grey Cup. The championship game is slated for Nov. 30 in Vancouver.. . B.C.s Logan had 13 carries for 94 yards, but the Lions had only 102 passing yards. 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