– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
DALLAS — Just moments after officially becoming a professional hockey player, Jack Campbell had envisioned that a lot of his future days in his National Hockey League career would resemble what actually occurred on Thursday night — winning a start in goal while playing in Big D.
It just took nine years for that to officially materialize — and while wearing a different team’s sweater.
Campbell, the Dallas Stars’ first-round draft pick in 2010, came back to the Lone Star State and made 29 saves in leading the Los Angeles Kings to a 2-1 victory over Dallas at the American Airlines Center, Los Angeles’ second win in its last three games.
Much was expected from Campbell, a native of Port Huron, Mich., when he was selected by the Stars, but was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2016 after not being able to make a significant progression through the Stars’ minor league system. Now in his first full season in the big leagues, Campbell has proven that he is an NHL-caliber goalkeeper, and, for one night, was able to show that pedigree in the city he thought would be home for many years to come after his draft night.
“Nothing more I wanted at 18 or 19, 20, 21, 22, than to be the franchise goalie [for the Stars],” said Campbell, who made one career start and appearance for the Stars, a 6-3 loss at Anaheim back on Oct. 20, 2013. “Didn’t happen. But it’s great to come back here.”
In the Kings’ other meeting with the Stars in Dallas this season, on Oct. 23, Jonathan Quick started in goal for Los Angeles in a 4-2 defeat. Tonight, Campbell came up big when the Kings needed him the most, making 18 of his 29 saves in the third period as the Kings defended a 2-0 lead going into the period. Though Campbell lost the shutout bid with 1:04 remaining, he did more than enough to give Los Angeles its first win in four games on the road in 2019.
“[Campbell’s] been thrown into some tough situations and he’s responded well for us,” said Kings head coach Willie Desjardins.
Los Angeles scored single goals in the first and second period, starting with Dustin Brown’s deflected goal off of a shot from defenseman Drew Doughty on the power play at 18:04 of the first. Carl Hagelin added a second goal for Los Angeles early in the second period when he slammed home a rebound in front after a shot from Tyler Toffoli was mishandled by Bishop, who had the puck drop from his glove right before Hagelin pounced.
The Stars mustered just 11 shots on goal in the first 40 minutes before piling on the pressure and outshooting Los Angeles 19-3 in the third period. With Stars goalie Ben Bishop pulled, Esa Lindell tipped in a shot from the blue line by Alexander Radulov past Campbell to cut the Kings’ lead in half. Campbell made a save on a one-timer from Tyler Seguin with 15 seconds remaining to snuff out the Stars’ final chance to tie the game.
“We’re all looking for the pretty play until that third period,” Seguin said. “We started simplifying and getting deep and going to hard areas.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 28 pictures in total.