Jack Campbell continues revival as Condors blank Reign 4-0

Bakersfield Condors complete an impressive victory at home to the Ontario Reign, helped by Jack Campbell winning for the sixth time in his last seven starts.

Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Earlier this season Jack Campbell had arguably reached a new low in his professional hockey career. He was assigned to Bakersfield after a disastrous start to the campaign with the Oilers, and subsequently lost his starting job with the Condors to Olivier Rodrigue.

The Oilers were ideally wanting to trade Campbell, but this was unlikely due to the size and length of his remaining contract, combined with his poor play. As a result, there was even talk about potentially buying him out.

However, the beauty of professional sports is that there's often a chance at redemption. In the case of the 2010 11th overall draft pick it was always known he had talent, but could he play better on a more consistent level?

Campbell on a roll of late

The answer has proven to be a resounding 'yes' for Campbell, since those dark early weeks in Bakersfield. As of Sunday morning, he now has more wins (16 vs. 14), a better save percentage (.920 vs. .918) and a lower Goals Against Average (2.60 vs. 2.71) compared to Rodrigue.

The 32-year-old has particularly been in a zone of late, winning six of his last seven starts. The most recent victory came on Saturday night, at home to the Ontario Reign.

Campbell stopped all 29 shots he faced, for his second shutout in four starts and third of the AHL season. As a result he took home the game's Second Star, with him providing the catalyst in the Condors' 4-0 win versus the Reign.

One of the main reasons for the success of Campbell and the Condors on the night, was going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. As a result, Colin Chaulk's team have now killed 24 consecutive power plays by opponents.

A tight opening period

The Reign were actually the slightly better team in the opening 20 minutes, as they outshot the Condors 10-8. However, it was the hosts who would get the vital opening goal, at the 8:17 mark of the first period.

It initially looked like Max Wanner scored from the right point, but replays showed the puck had been redirected past Erik Portillo by Dylan Holloway. Regardless, the Condors had a 1-0 lead at the end of the opening period.

It was the second period where the Condors would effectively put the game to rest, with two further goals in the space of less than two minutes. The first came at the 4:42 mark, and this time Wanner did get credit for scoring.

Raphael Lavoie picked up the puck behind the Reign net and set up Wanner with the one-timer, to make it 2-0. It was Lavoie's 16th assist of the AHL season, with Jayden Grubbe getting some credit with the secondary helper.

Goal of the night

The Condors' third goal was arguably the most impressive, with it coming despite being a man down on the ice. Lane Pederson caught the Reign on the break and turned his defender inside out, before firing home a spectacular short-handed effort to make it 3-0.

The final period was notable for how little fight the Reign appeared to have, as they were outshot 11-6. The Condors finished off the scoring with just under four minutes remaining, as Philip Kemp claimed his first AHL goal of the season via an empty-netter, with Holloway getting the assist and making it four points in four games since being assigned to Bakersfield.

With the win the Condors are now 28-4-1 this season when scoring at least three goals, and 22-1-1 when leading after two periods. Wanner claimed the game's First Star, while Pederson took home the Third Star.

Postgame comments

Postgame, coach Chaulk was asked about the recent form of his goalie. Speaking to the media, he said: "I'm genuinely happy for Jack Campbell. At times people get into a fog, or lose their way. We've all been there, I know I've been there personally ... Jack looks happy, he looks in a positive place, I'm happy to see he feels good about himself."

When it comes to Campbell, he is one of the most self-critical players you will ever meet, often getting down on himself and sometimes suffering from a lack of confidence. In addition, he is notable for not being very comfortable with taking compliments, often preferring to focus on the team's success as a whole.

Speaking to the media postgame on Saturday, the 2022 NHL All-Star did try to deflect a couple of times when asked about how well he has played of late. He did eventually speak a little bit about himself though, as he said: "The last few months have gone according to plan. What I expect out of myself, is to keep finding ways to get better and that's all I can control."

Next. Oilers jump up weekly NHL power rankings. Oilers jump up weekly NHL power rankings. dark

With the win the Condors improve to 32-21-4 on the season and pull to within one point of the Reign for fourth place in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand. Next up they will travel to Calgary for back-to-back games versus the Wranglers, beginning on Tuesday night.

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