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KINGS FYI

Kings' Jonathan Bernier will get the start in goal against his hometown Canadiens

Coach Terry Murray says he expects Bernier to respond well to playing in front of family and friends.

November 23, 2010|By Helene Elliott

Reporting from Montreal — Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier dreamed of playing for the Montreal Canadiens when he was a youngster in suburban Laval, but sentiment didn't drive Coach Terry Murray to make him the starter for Wednesday's game.

Murray expects Bernier's pride to inspire him to help lift the Kings out of a 1-4 slump in which they've squandered leads in every game.

"I've always felt that a player coming back home, there's always adrenaline, family is here," Murray said Tuesday after the team practiced in nearby Brossard. "There's a lot of emotion in it and because of who he is, I believe he's going to respond the right way."

Bernier, accustomed to being a No. 1 goalie, is still adjusting to backing up Jonathan Quick. But playing before more than 60 friends and relatives will help.

"It's going to be a great night," he said. "I can't really put any pressure on myself. It's another game and I've just got to focus on details and not really focus on the big picture — being in Montreal, in front of my family."

Bernier lost his last two starts, at San Jose on Monday and at Buffalo on Friday. He got little help from his defense but didn't make saves at crucial times and left many juicy rebounds. A victory Wednesday would allow the Kings to break even on the trip.

"I don't want to take all that media thing on me because I'm playing in Montreal," he said, "but obviously we're not playing as good as we want right now and we've got to find a way to turn things around."

Smart Alec

Defenseman Alec Martinez, recalled from Manchester (N.H.) when Jake Muzzin was assigned there, got lost driving from New Hampshire on Tuesday but found the practice rink with a half-hour to spare.

"I got a good view of Montreal," he said.

He's likely to get a good view of the Canadiens on Wednesday because four of his goals at Manchester came during power plays and the Kings are struggling with the man advantage. Murray wouldn't commit to a lineup change but gave him an endorsement.

"I know Martinez, one thing he can do, is take the puck to the net real hard," Murray said. "He's got a great shot."

Slap shots

Referee Eric Furlatt, involved in two disputed calls that went against the Kings in Monday's 3-2 loss at Ottawa, was assigned to Wednesday's game. … Former King Patrick O'Sullivan was claimed off waivers by Minnesota, from Carolina.

helene.elliott@latimes.com

twitter.com/helenenothelen

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