The left pad of Jack Campbell almost resembled a pinball flipper when he extended it for a crucial save.
It prevented Philadelphia Flyers forward Dale Weise from scoring and preserved a one-goal deficit for the Kings, who bounced from ineptness in their end to flurries of rush plays at the other like a pinball Thursday.
They turned on their game late with a goal by Ilya Kovalchuk and clutch saves by Campbell, who also turned away Jakub Voracek on a breakaway, until they succumbed to a 5-2 loss at Staples Center.
A turnover in the neutral zone led to a break-in by Claude Giroux, who snapped the puck past Campbell with 5:32 remaining to basically seal the seventh loss in eight games for the Kings. The goal was more representative of the Kings’ play in front of Campbell than Campbell as they continued down this slide, at 3-8-1.
“We’ve hung him out to dry a bunch,” Jeff Carter said. “A lot of turnovers, a lot of forced plays. A lot of just sloppy hockey in our own end that’s resulting in a lot of goals against and ‘Soupy’ [Campbell] having to make some big saves for us. It’s a big area of concern for us.”
Any momentum gained from Carter’s power-play goal midway through the second period was negated by Wayne Simmonds’ goal 49 seconds later and a controversial goal by Oskar Lindblom that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead.
“We give one up and it’s happened a bunch this year,” Carter said. “It’s happened to my line a bunch. It’s the way things are going for us. We need to stick together and use that positive momentum to our advantage. We’re getting it and we’re giving it right back. It’s tough right now.”
Lindblom appeared to kick the puck into the net at 14:05 with Sean Walker’s stick blade against, in one motion. But after a long review, officials determined that the puck went in off Walker’s stick.
Philadelphia’s second goal was simply a breakdown by the Kings, who allowed Simmonds to jump in on the right side and whack in Lindblom’s pass inside the far post. Carter took his own rebound and backhanded the puck in to get the Kings on the board.
Thursday was Campbell’s first game since the Kings announced that Jonathan Quick underwent knee surgery. Quick was placed on long-term injured reserve and will be eligible to return Nov. 21. His surgery for torn meniscus is expected to sideline him for about a month.
Campbell was ready at puck drop. He kept it a 1-0 deficit with 12 saves in the first period. The Kings had issues breaking the puck out and the Flyers’ forecheck created several chances. Derek Forbort committed a pair of turnovers and it led to the goal when he had the puck taken from him at center ice. Weise whiffed on his shot but had time and space to set up trailing defenseman Ivan Provorov for a snap shot high.
It represented the eighth straight game the Kings allowed the game’s first goal. The Kings have allowed at least three goals in eight straight games, and their captain knows why.
“We’ve got to start, obviously, in our D-zone and keep the puck out of our net,” Anze Kopitar said. “That’s definitely going to help us create more offense and spend more time in the offensive zone.”
Paul LaDue did not skate in the morning because of an upper-body injury sustained Wednesday, Stevens said.
“It’s not a long-term situation, it’s more day-to-day,” Stevens said. “He was in a position where, if we got him on the ice today, it would have irritated what’s going [on] with him, so we just kept him off the ice in the hopes he can start skating again.”