Port Huron's Campbell helps Kings stop Wings
Los Angeles Kings goalie Jack Campbell grew up in Port Huron and played in the Little Caesars hockey program as a youngster.
The former Dallas Stars first-round draft pick in 2010 hasn’t gotten much of a chance in the NHL. Campbell has mainly bounced around the minors.
But on Sunday, Campbell got an emergency start with Jonathan Quick (groin) injured and starred against his hometown Red Wings.
Campbell made 36 saves and was a key reason the Kings defeated the Wings, 4-2, at the Staples Center.
Quick was hurt in Saturday’s practice, leading to Campbell, 26, getting the start. It was only Campbell’s sixth career start (3-1-2), but he looked awfully comfortable leading the Kings (1-0-1) to their first victory of the season.
As for the Wings (0-1-1), this was a tough loss to stomach.
They outshot Los Angeles 38-25, received two power-play goals from Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin, and mainly outplayed the Kings.
The Wings did a much better job of getting the puck to the net, had scoring chances, and didn’t back down against the physical Kings.
But there will be no points earned for the standings.
Here were some other takeaways from the loss on the West Coast:
1. Bernier blues: Jonathan Bernier had a fine game going until giving up a stinker to Kings defenseman Paul LaDue at 16 minutes, 14 seconds of the second period to break a 1-1 tie.
LaDue skated down to the goal line and lifted a shot toward Bernier, who somehow got beat getting tangled up in his skates.
LaDue has four goals in his NHL career. Two have come against the Wings.
In the third period, Bernier and defenseman Libor Sulak miscommunicated behind the net, leading to Ilya Kovalchuk finding Alex Iafallo in the slot and Iafallo beating Bernier from between the hashmarks.
2. Bad bounce: Tough night for Andreas Athanasiou. He had a breakaway late in the second period with the game tied 1-1 but watched as the puck bounced into the corner.
The Kings took a 2-1 on LaDue’s goal shortly after.
3. Fighting spirit: Nick Jensen was a healthy scratch in the home opener, losing his spot in the lineup after a less than stellar preseason.
Jensen returned to the lineup Sunday, as coach Jeff Blashill sat young defenseman Joe Hicketts.
Jensen mostly played like a guy who doesn’t want to sit again.
He was aggressive at both ends of the rink, jumped into the play, and got into a fight sticking up for a teammate.
Yes, Nick Jensen. It was only his second NHL fight, but Jensen jumped in to challenge bigger Jake Muzzin in the second period after Muzzin hit Tyler Bertuzzi hard in the corner.
Actually, if you were scoring, Jensen won the fight, too.
4. Daley down: That Wings’ defense, incidentally, lost one of their lone veterans when Trevor Daley was injured in the first period.
Daley fell awkwardly to the ice and seemed to absorb a knee from Kings forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan to his head area.
The Wings announced Daley would not return because of an upper-body injury.
If Daley can’t play Monday in Anaheim, Hicketts is likely to return to the lineup.
Blashill said Jonathan Ericsson (upper body) and Niklas Kronwall (lower body) are unavailable to play on this two-game trip.
The young defensemen — Dennis Cholowski (two assists), Filip Hronek and Sulak — again had largely positive evenings.
5. L.A. nuisance: Bertuzzi, by the way, drove many Kings nuts with his agitating style, and finishing his checks.
Bertuzzi earned a four-minute high-sticking penalty early in the first period after drawing blood from Kings defenseman Dion Phaneuf.
But the Wings killed off the penalties, and gained momentum from the penalty kill.
Phaneuf and Bertuzzi got tangled several times during a physical evening.