On most any other night, the Kings could have probably done more justice to Jack Campbell’s performance Tuesday.
But a New Year’s Day game — their second contest in consecutive nights — against a Vegas Golden Knights team rested and ready was not the ideal combination.
The Kings looked every bit like a team in the stretch of a condensed schedule at the exact halfway point of the season. That’s why Campbell’s career-high 46 saves went to waste in a 2-0 loss at T-Mobile Arena.
Here’s what we learned:
Campbell earned the respect of Marc-Andre Fleury
The Stanley Cup-winning Vegas goalie got a good view of Campbell from his end, considering he only faced 17 shots.
Fleury liked what he saw.
“He was doing well and stopping a lot of pucks, and afterwards the only thing I can do is tip my hat,” Fleury said. “He played very good and had some good ice time.”
Fleury recorded his NHL-leading 23rd win. Asked about staying sharp, the affable Fleury said, “Just get in the corner and stretch, move the arms, do a couple push-ups from time to time. When they play the songs, I sing them.”
The halfway point is here
It’s a given that the Kings are in for a tough climb back into the playoff picture, and that became clearer after they hit the 41-game mark with a 16-22-3 record and a last-place standing in the Pacific Division. They are nine points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Statistics show that the Kings would have to go 29-7-5 in the second half to match last season’s record, which was good enough for the first wild-card entry. In other words, that’s a three-out-of-four win pace the rest of the way. Although it’s not a big point differential to make up for a wild-card berth, it is a lot of teams to hurdle to get there.
Adrian Kempe remains a work in progress at faceoffs
The young forward has taken more responsibility since he was moved back to center, and this remains an area of concern.