LOS ANGELES – In Washington’s first visit to since December of 2012, it took extra time for the Kings to stave off the Capitals, a team starving for points as they struggle to crack the East’s playoff bubble.
For the Kings, a three-game slide was pushed out the door in Thursday’s 2-1 win.
Tonight’s win also extended the Kings’ winning streak against the Capitals to six games. Washington hasn’t been able to record a win against the Kings since November 20, 2008.
Thursday evening’s battle was between a pair of clubs that are rather unfamiliar with one another, which kept the game fairly tight throughout the evening.
Neither club registered a shot on goal during the first six minutes of play, and only 12 shots were allotted total during the first 20 minutes.
Late in the first period, Williams missed Gaborik with a long cross-ice stretch pass, which the newly acquired forward couldn’t catch up to. He did however; utilize his speed to chase Williams’ missed pass rink-length to recover the puck, and found Anze Kopitar trailing right behind.
Kopitar read the play’s sequence as Gaborik hounded for the loose puck deep in Washington’s zone, shadowing Gaborik the entire way. Once Gaborik maintained possession, Kopitar was situated right in front of Jaroslav Halak for a perfect one-time touch pass tally.
Kopitar’s goal, his 22nd of the season, gave the Kings a 1-0 lead with 5:51 to play in the first period.
The Kings, though having numerous chances and three power play opportunities, couldn’t find a way to get another puck past Jaroslav Halak throughout the remainder of regulation time.
With 7:36 to play in the third period, Washington tied the game 1-1, on Joel Ward’s second-effort chance, as he jammed home a puck past Jonathan Quick through a scrum of traffic in front of the Kings’ crease.
Tied after three periods, the Kings wrapped up one guaranteed point, as did the Capitals.
In overtime, Robyn Regehr was called for a hooking penalty :53 seconds into the extra frame. The Kings were able to kill off Washington’s OT power play opportunity, keeping Alex Ovechkin at bay, while Jonathan Quick staved off all three of the Capitals’ shots.
In the shootout, the Kings found themselves down after the first round, as Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for Washington after Anze Kopitar drew a blank.
The Kings held Alex Ovechkin off the scoreboard, as the NHL’s leading scorer could only muster three shots and four hits in 19:09 minutes on the ice.
Darryl Sutter earned his 500th win as an NHL head coach tonight.
Jonathan Quick tied Rogie Vachon for the Kings’ franchise record in wins, recording his 171st career win tonight in his 326th NHL game.
The Kings’ record now stands at 39-25-6, which is good for 84 points, situating them at sixth-place in the Western Conference. The Kings lead the Phoenix Coyotes by five points for the Pacific Division’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot.
Saturday afternoon, the Kings will close out their five-game home stand, as the Florida Panthers visit STAPLES Center for a 1:00PM PT matinee.
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