TORONTO – Jonathan Bernier had made a mere 54 starts in the NHL before he joined the Maple Leafs this past summer. "I played a lot in junior, played a lot in the AHL, but last three years I didnt play much, so I kind of forgot how to prepare myself," said Bernier in conversation with the Leaf Report. "I forgot how hard it is to be ready every night." He is rapidly rediscovering what it takes. Making his third straight start in a rare Sunday night affair, the 25-year-old stopped 41 shots as the Leafs picked up back-to-back wins for the first time in three weeks, topping the Hurricanes 5-2 at the ACC. Bernier has sizzled with a .949 save percentage in his last five games, settling into a groove in the Toronto crease. He appears firmly on track to start in Wednesdays Winter Classic. "Thats up to Randy," said Bernier with a smile, now ranked eighth in the NHL with a .930 save percentage this season. "Obviously, itd be a really nice experience, but like Ive said since the beginning, you cant control what Randy is going to decide. Thats up to him." Bernier spoke earlier in the year about the mental and physical preparation required to play near-nightly in an NHL crease. Having tended goal as the back-up to Jonathan Quick for years with the Kings, he had forgotten the formula it took for success. With 23 starts already as a Leaf, he is picking it up once more. "Youve got to learn when to push yourself in practice or when to rest yourself, all those little things; when to work in the gym, when not," he explained. "You dont want to overwork, but at the same time you need those good practices to get back in the game and feel good about yourself." He is admittedly better prepared for the workload, one that is considerably more taxing night to night than what he experienced in Los Angeles. Sunday marked the fifth time he faced at least 40 shots this season. Its just another step in the learning process. "Im sure Ill be a different goalie or different person in two years from now," he said. "I never really played that much in this league so far. Its all new for me." Five Points 1. Bozaks Impactful Return Playing his first game since Dec. 3, returning from an oblique injury, Tyler Bozak made a splash with three assists against Carolina. The 27-year-old had a hand in both Phil Kessel goals – Kessels team-leading 19th and 20th – adding his 10th assist this season on Paul Rangers second goal of the year. Bozak, who entered the night averaging upwards of 21 minutes a game, was held to 17-plus on Sunday night, his ice-time managed after more than three weeks on long-term injured reserve. That will change in the near future according to Carlyle, who relies on the fifth-year centre in all situations. "We think a lot of a player by the number of minutes he plays," said Carlyle. "Usually thats a good indication of how coaches feel about players." The Leafs coach spoke of Bozaks intangibles. "Hes a smart hockey player," Carlyle continued. "He does a lot of little things that dont get noticed on the score-sheet and he puts himself in a position to be the safety valve for the other two players hes playing with." Alongside Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Bozak and the Toronto top line enjoyed a flurry of opportunities against the Hurricanes, including a handful of breakaways for Kessel, but also had their issues in the defensive zone, being outshot by the trio of Jordan Staal, Alexander Semin and Nathan Gerbe. Gerbe scored Carolinas first goal of the game with the line out on the ice. Prior to the game, van Riemsdyk spoke of Bozaks ability to impact the trio as a "safety valve" defensively. "Were usually going against other teams top offensive units and hes really good at competing with them down-low, getting the puck out of the zone," said van Riemsdyk. "When he does that…it gives all of us more energy to play offence. When youre not getting hemmed in as much and youre good defensively. you have more energy to expend on offence." Bozak now has eight points in the past five games hes played, also winning 14 of 26 draws on this night. 2. Face-off Work Carlyle stressed the need for increased competitiveness in the face-off circle prior to Sundays game and he got it. The Leafs won 60 per cent of their draws against the Hurricanes, led by Jay McClement, who emerged victorious on 15 of 24 face-offs. "If youre not having success against the individual, then Im about being competitive and I believe that our team has to become more competitive in those small areas," said Carlyle earlier in the day. "When theres a 50-50 opportunity to come up with the puck, I think we have to show more tenacity, more bite, and what it comes down to, its more competitive spirit." Jerred Smithson, reassigned to the Marlies on Saturday, recently offered a similar sentiment in conversation with the Leaf Report. "Its just wanting to win the battle more than that other guy," said Smithson, who held a 59 per cent mark in 17 games with the Leafs. "Thats the biggest thing for me, anyway. You know theres always different techniques, but just the will and the compete going into the circle and wanting it just that much more." Outside of Smithson and McClement, Toronto centres have all dipped under the 50 per cent mark. Even Bozak, long the teams best face-off man, has fallen to 46 per cent in 17 games this season. Centre Face-off Percentage Jerred Smithson 58.6 Jay McClement 54.9 Tyler Bozak 46.6 Trevor Smith 45.2 Peter Holland 45.2 Nazem Kadri 42.1 Dave Bolland 41.3 The Leafs, at 47.2 per cent this season, sit 25th overall on the draw. 3. Opposing Strategy Despite beating the Hurricanes handily, the Leafs did not play what could be considered a smooth game. Carlyle felt his team was "overmatched in a lot of areas" and were outshot 43-27 and out-attempted 75-49. The Leafs coach has identified the formula of opposing teams. "They got to the red-line and they dumped the puck in," he said of the Hurricanes. "That seems to be the mandate for teams coming in here: you try to force us to play as much defence [as possible] in our own zone." Carlyle said opponents have been intent on forcing his team to recover pucks down low and along the walls in the Toronto zone, pinching their defencemen where possible for added support. "Its no secret," he said. "We havent been able to hand that or manage the game properly in that area and weve got to get better at it." 4. Best Period as a Leaf? David Clarkson left the bench for the final 13 minutes of the second period. The 29-year-old required stitches for a gash on his elbow. He returned a different player for the final frame. "Probably the best period of hockey hes played for us," said Carlyle of Clarksons third period. Employed in checking line duties alongside McClement and Nik Kulemin for the past five games, Clarkson seems to be gradually finding a role with the Leafs. On Sunday, his units duties included a showdown with Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner and Tuomo Ruutu. And though they were outshot, the trio managed to keep Carolinas top line off the scoresheet. "We feel confident that we can put that line on the ice against any line weve played so far," Carlyle said. "So when you have that type of confidence in the group, the sum of the three, its a good sign for the coaching staff. We feel confident in those players. And if you notice their minutes, they get to play a lot." 5. Hollands Opportunity With Bozak back from a 12-game stint on injured reserve and a checking unit of Clarkson, Kulemin and McClement remaining intact, Peter Holland moved down the lineup Sunday into the fourth line centre position. The shift wasnt because of performance. Holland has made good use of an opportunity presented by the teams injury troubles. He entered the evening with eight points in the previous 10 games. "I thought Ive come in and Ive gotten stronger pretty much on a consistent basis, game in, game out," said the 22-year-old, shooting a blistering 23 per cent on six goals this season. "Whether Im playing five minutes or 15 minutes, I think Im just trying to do my best to earn the respect of my coaches and the rest of my teammates. Just do the little things right; winning battles; winning face-offs; being on the defensive side of pucks. I think when Ive done a good job of that the offence has come, so I just need to stick with that." Holland, who played only eight minutes against Carolina, is tied for third on the team in December scoring. Stats-Pack .949 – Save percentage for Jonathan Bernier over the past five games. 43-72 – Leafs in the face-off circle against the Hurricanes. 17:14 – Ice-time for Tyler Bozak in his return to the lineup against Carolina. 6 – Seasons with 20-plus goals for Phil Kessel. 8 – Points in the last five games for Bozak, who had three assists against the Hurricanes. 8 – Goals from the Toronto defence in the past 12 games. Along with Ranger, Dion Phaneuf scored his fourth marker of the season on Sunday. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-2 Season: 22.3% (5th) PK: 1-2 Season: 77.5% (27th) Quote of the Night "I wasnt waving the pompoms to be involved with it to start with." -Randy Carlyle, on the upcoming Winter Classic. Up Next The Leafs face the Red Wings in Wednesdays Winter Classic. Connor Brickley Jersey. Down 2-1 after Rick Nash scored on a penalty shot, the Oilers ran off four unanswered goals in the remainder of the second period on the way to a 6-3 victory on Sunday. Evgenii Dadonov Jersey. The top-ranked Williams carried her winning momentum from 2013 into the new season, beating No. 2-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday to defend her title at the Brisbane International and set the tone for the Australian Open. http://www.hockeypanthersofficialonline.com/mark-pysyk-hockey-jersey/. -- Scottie Wilbekin sat on the bench for the final minute, holding a bag of ice against his left knee. Nick Bjugstad Jersey.com) - Stephen Currys jumper with 3. MacKenzie Weegar Jersey. -- Downcast before the final game of what had been a difficult road trip, the Ottawa Senators found a way to dig out a little momentum in the desert before heading home.MACAU, Macau -- Manny Pacquiao got the big knockdowns he so desperately craved, battering Chris Algieri around the ring at will Sunday on his way to a decision win in one of the most lopsided welterweight title fights imaginable. Pacquiao chased Algieri from the opening bell, knocking him down repeatedly and dominating. About the only thing Pacquiao didnt get was his first knockout in five years, settling instead for a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision against an opponent who seemed unwilling to engage. By the time it was over, Algieri had gone down six times. And Pacquiao had a signature win that should put to rest the idea hes declining and maybe even set up a fight next year with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao prayed in his corner while waiting for the decision. But it was Algieri who never had a prayer. Pacquiao knocked Algieri down once in the second round, two more times in the sixth and twice more in the ninth. After a final knockdown in the 10th round, he seemed to back off in a fight that had long been decided. Two ringside judges scored the bout 119-103 while the third had it 120-102. The Associated Press had Pacquiao winning 120-102. Pacquiao went into the fight saying he needed a signature win to entice Mayweather to fight him in a bout that boxing fans have wanted for years. He vowed to put on a power performance like some of his earlier fights and did, never letting Algieri get close. I really want that fight, Pacquiao said of Mayweather. The fans deserve that fight. Some of the sold out crowd of 13,202 at the Venetian Macau may have wondered whether Algieri deserved this fight, as he spent more time trying to stay away from Pacquiao than trading punches. But while Algieri could run, he couldnt hide. Pacquiao caught him repeatedly with power punches and dropped him as he tried to back away. The master boxer was given a master class by professor Pacquiao tonight, trainer Freddie Roach said. I was disappointed in Algieris performance tonight. All he did was run. Algieri said he was simply beaten by a better fighter. Its not just his hand speed, Algieri said. Hes a great fighter. He does everything well. Manny has perfected his style of boxing. Pacquiaos seccond fight in China was held at midday to accommodate the pay-per-view sales in the U.ddddddddddddS., but the time of day didnt matter much to the Filipino fans who cheered on their 35-year-old national hero. Pacquiao knocked Algieri down in the corner in the second round, though Algieri claimed it was a slip. He easily fought his way through Algieris tentative defence, landing punches on the inside and piling up points. Algieri came into the fight with a reputation for his jab, but he refused to commit to it early and simply pawed at Pacquiao with his left hand. Still, Algieris corner somehow thought he was carrying out the game plan just the way they had drawn it up. Youre doing beautiful man, trainer Tim Lane told his fighter after the third round. Everything stays the same. Keep it up. By the end of the fourth round, Pacquiao had already thrown more than 100 more punches than Algieri. But Algieri rarely stopped to set his feet to punch, and kept trying to run away from the champions punching power. Unfortunately for Algieri, things then went from bad to worse. Pacquiao caught him with a big left hand that sent Algieri sprawling on the canvas in the sixth round, almost turning a reverse somersault before finally landing in the corner. Pacquiao was right back on him, and Algieri went down again late in the round as he tried desperately to survive. Still, Algieris corner urged him to continue to do what he was doing, long after he needed a knockout to win. This is the way we want to be, Lane told him. This is what you wanted Algieri was an unlikely opponent despite being unbeaten in 20 fights after ending a kick boxing career to concentrate on boxing. He got the bout after being knocked down twice in the first round in his June fight with Ruslan Provodnikov and coming back to win a 12-round decision, and was supremely confident in the weeks before the fight that he would beat Pacquiao, too. Still, oddsmakers made him a 7-1 underdog against the Filipino great, who came into determined to show he still had his punching power. The bout was for a piece of the welterweight title held by Pacquiao, though it was fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds instead of 147. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '