LAS VEGAS (AP) — In the heat of a tight playoff race, the Los Angeles Kings turned to a little-known goaltender with one NHL start under his belt.
Boy, did Jack Campbell ever come through.
Campbell made 41 saves, Anze Kopitar scored his 27th goal and Los Angeles defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 on Tuesday night.
“It’s always great to win, and it definitely feels great to do it with this group. It just means a lot that it was a big two points,” Campbell said. “It was a little bit more than another game. I wanted to prove to everybody, but most importantly my teammates, that they can count on me. This was probably the biggest game I’ve played in.”
It was the Kings’ second victory over Vegas in two nights. The expansion Golden Knights dropped into a tie with Nashville for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The 26-year-old Campbell was making his first NHL start since the 2013-14 season, when he played for the Dallas Stars. He made one appearance for Los Angeles last season and got the nod Tuesday over starter Jonathan Quick, who beat Vegas on Monday.
“I remember the day when he came here,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “His game was not in very good shape. He had been in the East Coast League, and all he wanted to do was work and get better. Terrific year in the minors and became a leader down there. Coming into this game is a tough spot. It’s as tough a spot as there is. I thought Jack was really solid tonight and I couldn’t be any happier for the kid.”
Kyle Clifford, Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter also scored for the Kings, who rank second in the league with 20 road wins. Tampa Bay has 22.
Maxime Lagace stopped 26 shots for the Golden Knights in his first…