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Jonathan Bernier's win over the Penguins first time he saw 40+ shots this season

Maybe that's Bernier's problem. Maybe he just needs to face lots of shots.

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

You know what's great about the Elias Sports Bureau? The endless obscure stats upon stats upon stats they find. Or at least the ones they bring up that you might not have realized, or ever thought to look for.

For example: we know Jonathan Bernier has been having a bad season. To call it bad is to put it lightly, really; his .889 save percentage through the first half of the year has seen him put up some of the worst numbers of his career to date. He's been mostly better as of late - really, since his AHL conditioning stint - but the end of 2015 has not been kind to him.

Except in the Maple Leafs' final game of the year, in which he unexpectedly had the start, and absolutely rolled with it. The Pittsburgh Penguins put 41 pucks on him, and only two got past him.

It was also the first time this year Bernier has faced 40+ shots. As the Elias Sports Bureau noted:

In each of the past two seasons Bernier had a league-high total of 13 games in which he faced at least 40 shots on goal, and he fared well in those games, posting an 8-3-2 record in 2013-14 and a 6-6-1 mark last season.

Not that the Leafs should be aiming to make sure the other team takes a lot of shots on him. That's not the story here.

The story is, under Mike Babcock, the Leafs have decreased the number of shots put up against them. James Reimer has faced two 40+ shot games so far this season, so that's only three times this team has allowed the opposition that many pucks on net.

But nobody has seen more rubber than Bernier, and this season, that's changed. That's a genuine sign of improvement, Bernier's save percentages be damned. And that bodes well for the Leafs' future.