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Post Game: Campbell's goal helps Jackets hold off Kings

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

A John Tortorella-coached team is often best described by the word “together.”

Attack together, check together, and defend together – and if the Blue Jackets were going to take down the red-hot Los Angeles Kings, they would need nothing less than a team effort.

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With some timely scoring and more solid goaltending, they were able to get it done, a 3-2 win at STAPLES Center to make it two straight wins on the California trip with one more coming on Friday night in Anaheim.

And as has been the case with nearly every meeting between the Blue Jackets and Kings over the last few seasons, this one was feisty, combative and entertaining, with both teams creating chances, finishing checks and walking the line with the opposition.

As they’ve discussed quite often over the last couple of weeks, the Blue Jackets got their desired quick start despite a penalty to David Savard less than a minute into the game.

Cam Atkinson deftly re-directed a Brandon Dubinsky pass from the left wall, opening his stick blade ever so slightly to slide it under Jonathan Quick’s glove for a 1-0 Columbus lead at 6:22.

The Kings had an answer with a power play goal of their own. Alec Martinez ripped a slap shot from the left circle over Sergei Bobrovsky’s shoulder to tie the game at 12:47. Dubinsky was credited with the Blue Jackets’ second goal late in the first period when a centering pass/shot from Nick Foligno went off his knee and into the Kings’ net, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

It was 2-1 on the scoreboard for Columbus but the Kings had a 15-8 edge in shots on goal, and after the second period was complete, the Blue Jackets still had eight total shots – marking the first time in franchise history that they’d gone without a shot on goal in a period.

But they certainly redeemed themselves with a strong third period.

The Blue Jackets were on their toes, forechecking and skating their way out of trouble when they needed it. They put 17 shots on goal – 10 of those coming in the first nine-plus minutes – and got a crucial insurance goal from Gregory Campbell with 9:08 to play.

Campbell’s goal, his first as a Blue Jacket, was a seeing eye shot off a Jack Johnson drop pass from the left wing, and Jonathan Quick never got a read on it.

“We stressed that our starts have to be good, and we had a good first period but slipped in the second without a shot (on goal),” Campbell said. “We played hard in the third, and it’s a big win for our team. That’s a big strong team, so to hold them off the board in the second period was a good job by us defensively, and committing.

“The good thing about games is there are ebbs and flows, and we were able to turn the page and have a really good third period.”

One of the most encouraging things for Tortorella? He saw his team take steps toward forging an identity against a team knowing for playing a style similar to what they want to develop.

“I liked the spirit of the team,” Tortorella said. “They fought for one other. In the third period, I thought we defended well and battled. It’s satisfying because I thought they played the right way. It’s the beginning of an identity, and tonight was a good step in trying to play the right way.

“It’s a good win for us. We’re a team fighting to get some sort of traction and consistency playing against a really good hockey club that’s playing well. I feel good for the guys.”

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