Kings @ Capitals Recap: LA Outlasts Washington After Wild Third and OT
The Kings fight back from a two-goal deficit with a huge third period effort, and after Washington ties it late, the Kings earn the extra point in the shootout.
Short intro, long recap. The Los Angeles Kings came out flat against the Washington Capitals, but they somehow found the energy to come back and earn two points.
The first period was dull. Actually, the second period was dull too, but we're taking this one period at a time. At even strength, very little happened for either team; Nick had the Capitals with a single scoring chance at even strength, and he had the Kings with zero scoring chances at even strength in period number one. However, the Capitals got power plays, and that was all they needed in the opening frame. On the first power play, Alex Ovechkin banked in a shot off Robyn Regehr. Then, less than five minutes later, Ovechkin was left with too much real estate at the left circle and beat a sliding Jonathan Quick . There were 13 shots over the rest of the period, but nothing more to speak of.
Amazingly, the second period had exactly the same number of scoring chances at even strength: one. For Washington. That one resulted in a goal, as Dustin Penner knocked a loose puck past Quick near the end of the second. That made the score 3-1; Mike Richards had scored a goal on the power play 2:53 into the second. Alec Martinez took a long shot that was knocked down in front, and with Jaroslav Halak searching for the puck, Richards slid the puck into the far side of the net.
There were no real indications that this game would end up being as exciting as it was, but as we saw yesterday, a quick third period goal can make the final 20 minutes crazy. Tonight, it was the Kings' turn to get the quick goal, as Dustin Brown took a hard slapshot and Halak left a rebound. Dwight King went "tweeners" to make it 3-2 and we were off to the races. At least, the Kings were, relentlessly throwing rubber at Halak. They beat him for the equalizer with 11:19 to go. With Justin Williams in the doghouse after two offensive zone penalties, Darryl Sutter moved Tyler Toffoli up with Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik to provide a spark. It worked, as Toffoli got the primary assist and Gaborik showed off the hands that Kings fans have been waiting to see.
The go-ahead goal was courtesy of Brown, who had a multi-point game for only the fourth time this season. Jarret Stoll flipped the puck towards the net, more to keep it in the zone than anything. But the Caps couldn't deal with the loose puck and Brown made them pay, wristing it past Halak for the go-ahead goal. King hit the post soon after, which only would have improved a great night for the third line. Stoll had the best possession numbers on the team, and the King-Stoll-Brown line spent most of their time matched against Ovechkin and shut him down at even strength.
It looked like a second straight regulation win for the Kings, especially after Mike Richards was hauled down while attempting to score an empty net goal. The referees ruled that John Carlson was alongside Richards and not behind him when he hooked him, so no automatic goal. No big deal, though, as even with Halak pulled, it was 5-on-5. However, Washington immediately charged down the ice and scored, as Ovechkin's diving shot squeaked through Quick and Evgeny Kuznetsov slammed in the loose puck for his first career goal. The game went to overtime, where the following happened:
- the Kings' 4-on-3 power play petered out
- Ovechkin inadvertently slammed into his teammate Jack Hillen, knocking him out of the game
- Slava Voynov manages to stop a neat toe-drag from Ovechkin
- defenseman Dmitry Orlov (who was dangerous on offense and equally dangerous to his own team on defense) rang a shot off the post
- the teams went back and forth for two solid minutes to end OT, but no one scored
Whew! In the shootout, Kuznetsov fanned on his attempt, Anze Kopitar beat Halak on the backhand, Eric Fehr was stopped by Quick, and Jeff Carter sped toward Halak before firing a wrist shot past him. Nice and simple, unlike that third period. Thankfully, Quick's back-to-back woes didn't extend to the shootout. Four points out of four on the back-to-back, and hopefully, a few days off for Quick while Jones gets a shot at the Penguins.