Instead, the Kings stepped on the accelerator with three
third-period goals and survived a late goal by Washington Capitals
rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov to pull out a 5-4 shootout victory.
Los Angeles left winger Dwight King and right wingers Marian Gaborik
and Dustin Brown scored in the third period, and centers Anze
Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored the only goals in the shootout.
Kuznetsov and center Eric Fehr were unsuccessful on shootout
attempts against Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who improved to
25-15-2. Quick made 23 saves in regulation and overtime.
The result was the Kings' fourth consecutive victory, three of them
by one goal.
"I think it was a good character win," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty
said. "The boys stuck together, stuck with it. We knew the whole
time we were going to get back in that game. That was our entire
The Kings (42-25-6) solidified their hold on third place in the
The shootout loss gave the Capitals (34-27-12) a key point in the
tight Eastern Conference wild-card race. Four teams — the Detroit
Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington — are tied for the two wild-card spots with 80 points.
The Capitals are 4-0-2 in their past six games following
back-to-back losses to the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month.
"There's no excuse. We have to find a way to win when we are up two
goals," Capitals left winger Marcus Johansson said. "Hopefully, it
doesn't come down to one point (in the final standings)."
Despite the Kings coming off a hard-fought win over the Flyers the
night before, Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said before Tuesday's
game he was not overly concerned about his team's energy level.
The Capitals certainly tried to exploit the advantage in their first
game back from a three-game road trip, getting two power-play goals
from right winger Alex Ovechkin in the opening seven minutes.
At 2:24, Ovechkin snapped a pass from defenseman John Carlson off
Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr and into the net for his 47th goal of
the season and 21st on the power-play goal, both league highs.
A little more than four minutes later, Ovechkin capitalized on
another power play, this time snapping a nice feed from right winger
Troy Brouwer past sliding Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.
Ovechkin's 22nd power-play goal matched his career high for a
season, which is also a franchise record. However, he was upset with
the Caps' inability to shut the door on the Kings.
"We made mistakes in our zone," Ovechkin said. "We didn't do the
right thing, and it almost cost us both points."
The Kings looked like a different team in the second period,
converting a power play on center Mike Richards' 11th goal of the
season and second in three games. Richards' goal came 2:53 into the
period, when he whipped a backhander past Capitals goaltender
Jaroslav Halak (32 saves).
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A few minutes later, the Capitals lost center Nicklas Backstrom for
the remainder of the game. He was taken hard into the boards by Los
Angeles Doughty, hitting his left shoulder and head on the glass
divider next to the Capitals' bench.
Backstrom entered the game tied with Ovechkin for the team lead with
"Obviously, you miss (Backstrom)," Capitals coach Adam Oates said.
"But every team has guys that go out. You've got 19 other guys to do
The Capitals restored their two-goal lead with 2:42 remaining in the
second period when left wing Dustin Penner, a Stanley Cup winner
with the Kings two years ago, scored his first goal for the
Capitals, shoveling a pass from fourth-line center Chris Brown past
That is when the Kings rolled up their sleeves. King slipped behind
two Capitals defensemen to make it 3-2 just 45 seconds into the
third period. Gaborik tied the score at the 8:41 mark by roofing a
shot over Halak, and Brown gave the Kings a 4-3 lead with 7:05
remaining in regulation.
"After the second period, we still felt we were right in it,"
Kopitar said. "It certainly helped coming out of the intermission
and scoring in the first minute."
The Capitals were in the midst of killing a late penalty when
Kuznetsov shoved a rebound under Quick for his first NHL goal with
41.5 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
NOTES: The Kings entered the game with 2,294 total hits, second
behind the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL. Led by RW Dustin Brown
with 210, the Kings have 10 players with 100 or more hits. The
Capitals, who entered the game ranked 15th in the league with 1,689
hits, have three players over 100, led by RW Troy Brouwer's 193. ...
The Capitals were without C Mikhail Grabovski, who sat out for the
21st time in 22 games with a left ankle injury. Grabovski said he
hopes to play when the Caps return to action Saturday against the
Boston Bruins. ... Capitals LW Dustin Penner won a Stanley Cup with
the Kings in 2012. "He scored an overtime goal to put us into the
Stanley Cup final," Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter said. "That's
what I remember most. When you score an overtime goal in a
(conference) championship game, I'd say that's valuable." ... The
Kings conclude their three-game road trip Thursday night in
Pittsburgh against the Penguins.
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