Kempe, Cammalleri help Kings clobber Canadiens
LOS ANGELES — The youngest player on the Los Angeles Kings had a lot in common with the team’s oldest player Wednesday night.
Second-year forward Adrian Kempe had three goals and an assist in a 5-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens at Staples Center.
Fifteen-year veteran Michael Cammalleri added two goals and two assists as the Kings remained the only NHL team without a regulation loss this season.
Kempe, 21, scored his three goals in the final 13 minutes to break open a game that was tied entering the third period. Kempe had one multi-point game in his career coming into Wednesday.
“After I got the first one, you get a little more comfortable and you feel better about yourself,” Kempe said. “Everything came to me and went in.”
Cammalleri, 35, scored a power-play goal in the first period to tie the score at 1-1, assisted on Kempe’s first goal that broke the tie and scored his second goal later in the third for a two-goal advantage. He assisted on Kempe’s third goal that made it 5-1 with 1:36 left.
“It’s nice to contribute,” said Cammalleri, who played his first five NHL seasons with the Kings, then played for three other clubs, including Montreal, before rejoining Los Angeles this season. “It’s a special feeling to be back, and I appreciate being here.”
Cammalleri was a healthy scratch the previous two games.
“He did a lot of good things, and he has a skill set that can capitalize,” Kings coach John Stevens said of Cammalleri. “I thought it was a great response from a veteran player.”
Montreal (1-5-1) lost its sixth straight game and remains one of two NHL teams without a regulation victory, the other being the winless Arizona Coyotes.
“It’s tough right now,” Montreal goalie Al Montoya said. “You’re in the game the whole game until the last 10 minutes and you get blown out. This is a tough one to swallow.”
Trevor Lewis assisted on Kempe’s first two goals, and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick had 36 saves.
Montoya made his first start of the season in place of Carey Price, whose 3.56 goals-against average is 26th among NHL goalies with at least four appearances this season. Montoya stopped 37 shots.
The Canadiens gave Montoya a 1-0 lead at 10:31 of the first period on the first goal of the season by Paul Byron. The left winger started the play by stealing the puck from Derek Forbort in the corner and finished it by jamming Phillip Danault’s centering pass into the net.
Montreal left winger Alex Galchenyuk committed back-to-back minor penalties, and the Kings made the Canadiens pay after the second, scoring a power-play goal at 17:12 of the first period to tie the score at 1-1.
Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin tried to center a pass to Cammalleri in the slot, but the puck deflected off the stick of Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry and lifted off the ice. Just before the puck landed, Cammalleri swiped it into the left side of the net for his first goal of the season.
“It’s just a reactionary thing,” Cammalleri said.
The game remained tied for just over 30 minutes before Kempe began the scoring barrage at 7:34 of the third period.
“When you’re in a hockey game like we were after two periods, you have to be smart,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “You have to make the right decisions, and we didn’t do that. There’s accountability that comes with that. We have to be a lot better and a lot smarter in those situations if we’re going to turn this around and win some hockey games.”
The night wasn’t all positives for Los Angeles.
Kings right winger Jeff Carter, who led the team with 32 goals and 66 points last season, sustained a lower-body injury late in the first period and did not return.
Stevens said Carter would be re-evaluated on Thursday.
“Anytime a player doesn’t finish the hockey game, there’s concern,” the coach said.
NOTES: For the first time since the 1995-96 season, the Kings came into the game as the last NHL team without a regulation loss. ... The Kings started the season 0-for-16 on the power play but are 5-for-9 since, including 1-for-3 on Wednesday. Montreal failed on all four of its man-advantage chances Wednesday. ... The Canadiens are last in the NHL at 1.43 goals per game.