The Los Angeles Kings are in a very tough spot. They haven’t scored a goal in their last three games, and their backup-to-the-backup goalie, Peter Budaj, started to show cracks Tuesday night in a 4-0 loss to Anaheim.
While there’s some reason to believe the scoring will come around (the Kings registered 89 shots in their last three games combined, and they still have Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty), there really isn’t an obvious solution to the goaltending problem.
So to all those fans screaming about Jaroslav Halak, perhaps GM Dean Lombardi can find a way, but don’t count on it, because Halak is signed through next season for a cap hit of $4.5 million.
“There’s nobody coming in on a white horse to play goal for us or score goals or to come up from [the AHL],” head coach Darryl Sutter said last night, per LA Kings Insider. “This is our team. I’ve said it early, meaning two or three games ago, and I’ll say it again. Our responsibility is not to use the injuries as an excuse. The responsibility is to try and stay in the race.”
Budaj was replaced last night by the once highly touted Jack Campbell. The Kings got Campbell in June, sending defenseman Nick Ebert to Dallas in return. Campbell, 24, split last season between the AHL and ECHL, and now he could be in line for an NHL start Thursday when the defending champs from Pittsburgh pay a visit.
Sutter didn’t say who would get the nod against the Penguins, but he clearly wasn’t very happy with Budaj’s performance.
“He wasn’t very good,” he said. “I mean, did you look at the shots and scoring chances? He wasn’t very good. That’s clear. I don’t pull goalies very often, but they’re expected to make some saves.”
Campbell has only made one NHL start in his career, all the way back on Oct. 20, 2013, when he allowed six goals on 47 shots in a 6-3 Dallas loss to Anaheim.