Berthiaume Makes Jets Pay : Hockey: Former Winnipeg goaltender gets his 20th victory as the Kings win their sixth in a row, 4-2.
Goalie Daniel Berthiaume doesn’t like Winnipeg.
He made that pretty clear last Sunday when he stormed out of the locker room in Winnipeg rather than talk with the local reporters.
He says he was unfairly chased out of town by vindictive media, although he won 22 games for the Jets three years ago.
Berthiaume returned to the 20-game circle Thursday night as a King before a sellout crowd of 16,005 at the Forum.
And his vindication had to be all the sweeter because he did it against the Jets, blocking 23 shots as the Kings beat Winnipeg, 4-2.
Berthiaume improved his record to 20-8-2 in leading the Kings to their sixth consecutive victory.
Berthiaume has been particularly effective against the Smythe Division, going 7-1-1.
But he insists he doesn’t see red when he faces the Jets.
“That’s over,” Berthiaume said. “Now it’s just like playing against another team. The first time I played against them, I was a little nervous. But now, it’s like playing against Pittsburgh or Philadelphia.”
A story saying that Berthiaume had been rude to a fan asking for an autograph was the beginning of the end in Winnipeg.
Berthiaume, although denying the story, went on television to apologize. Nothing stopped the booing, and Berthiaume said it was he who eventually suggested a trade.
He was traded to the Minnesota North Stars for a half season and then on to the Kings on the eve of training camp.
“I don’t know what his problems were in Winnipeg,” said King assistant coach Cap Raeder, who works with the goalies, “but he certainly hasn’t had any problems here. I’ve really enjoyed his play. The kid’s got a lot of skill. I like the way he prepares for a game. Consistency has been the biggest thing for him.”
And for the Kings.
They are 38-20-7, lead the Smythe Division by six points and have guaranteed themselves a finish no worse than third, although their sights remain considerably higher.
There are no such guarantees for the Jets, who fell to 23-34-11 in losing to the Kings for the third time in a week. Suddenly, the Jets find themselves battling just to get into the playoffs. If the Vancouver Canucks should win tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, they would tie Winnipeg for the final Smythe playoff spot.
The Kings opened the scoring 4:08 into the game with Rob Blake’s specialty.
Receiving a pass from Wayne Gretzky at the blue line on a power play, Blake took one step and then fired a 60-foot slap shot. The puck sailed over the glove of Winnipeg goalie Rick Tabaracci, who appeared to be screened on the play.
The goal was Blake’s eighth of the season and his seventh on a power play.
Winnipeg got even at 15:17 on Pat Elynuik’s team-leading 27th goal and 13th on a power play.
McSorley put the Kings back in front with a shot that looked as if it had come off a cue stick rather than a hockey stick.
Coming down the right side, McSorley banged the puck off the boards. Tabaracci came out to meet it, but the puck angled past him, kissed off the left post and rolled into the net at 16:51 of the period.
McSorley had his fourth goal and a big grin on his face.
It wasn’t exactly the route he had planned, but he wasn’t about to toss it back.
The Kings improved their margin to 3-1 in the second period on Mike Donnelly’s fourth goal overall and his third in the last two games.
The Jets closed the gap to 3-2 at 9:24 of the final period on Ed Olczyk’s 24th goal and 11th on a power play.
Luc Robitaille later added a goal for the Kings. It was his 37th to tie Gretzky for the team lead.
Tuesday night’s sellout was the Kings’ club-record 18th in a row and 27th in 33 home dates. They sold out a record 31 of 40 last season. The last time the Kings failed to sell out was in a December game against Winnipeg. . . . The Kings are the only Campbell Conference club to avoid a shutout. The last time they were blanked was last March 29 by the Jets. . . . King center Todd Elik sat out with a bruised thigh, the result of being shoved into a post Tuesday night.