Carter, Campbell lead Kings past Blue Jackets 4-1
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings accomplished something they haven’t done much during the first month of the season — play a complete game.
The Kings got just their second win in the last nine games as they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Saturday night.
“Like the way we came out and played,” Los Angeles coach John Stevens said. “We played faster with the puck. We also checked faster and had support of the puck when we regained possession.”
Dustin Brown, who had a goal and two assists, thought that playing with the lead — which the Kings have done rarely this season — also did wonders.
“We did exactly what we are known for. They had a lot of puck movement but we kind of bent but didn’t break and that was a big part of our success,” he said. “We got a lot of traffic in front of the net and pucks there. You are going to get a lot of goals when you get guys there.”
Alex Iafallo’s goal at 12:03 of the first period marked the first time in nine games (Oct. 11 at Montreal) that Los Angeles scored the first goal. It also was the first contest since Oct. 18 against the Islanders (six games) that the Kings scored in the first 20 minutes.
“It definitely gives you a spark. We played the right way defensively and that led to a really strong offense,” said goaltender Jack Campbell, who made 26 saves. “We won a lot of puck battles which eliminated their offensive zone time and shots on goal.”
Zach Werenski had the Blue Jackets’ lone goal and Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves.
The Kings led 2-1 in the third period when they put the game away with a pair of short-handed goals 57 seconds apart. Kopitar got his own rebound and went top shelf on Sergei Bobrovsky at 7:46 for the right wing’s fourth goal of the season. Brown put it away less than a minute later on a penalty shot, for his second. The penalty shot, which was Los Angeles’ first, was the result of Ryan Murray hooking Brown on the breakaway attempt.
“We’ve been inconsistent, quite honestly,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “You get the game straightened out and find a way to crawl back into it and we just didn’t pull up on our power play.”
Iafallo put Los Angeles on the board first with his third. The left wing’s shot from the left faceoff circle trickled underneath Bobrovsky’s pads. It is the first time in six games (Oct. 18 against the Islanders) the Kings scored in the first period.
The Kings went up by two on a power-play goal in the second period when Carter took a cross-ice pass from Ilya Kovalchuk and fired a wrist shot for his fourth.
Werenski scored for Columbus 29 seconds into the third when he beat Campbell after getting a centering pass from Boone Jenner.
NOTES: Kovalchuk has two goals and four assists over the past three games. … Kopitar also extended his point streak to three straight and has a goal and two assists in that span. … Los Angeles’ Matt Luff made his NHL debut. The 21-year old right wing was on the third line. He is the first player in franchise history to wear number 64. … Columbus has scored a goal in the first period in 10 straight games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau that is three games shy of the franchise record. … RW Josh Anderson, who also assisted on Warenski’s goal, has a point in three straight games (two goals, one assist).
Blue Jackets: Conclude their California swing at Anaheim on Sunday.
Kings: Host Anaheim on Tuesday in the first Freeway Series matchup of the season.