The Washington Capitals beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The win improves the Capitals record to a league-best 41-10-4. The loss dropped the Pacific-leading Kings record to 33-20-3. The Capitals head to Brooklyn tomorrow to take-on the Islanders Thursday night at Barclays Center.
Brooks Orpik returned to the line-up for the first time since November 10th (40 games). Jay Beagle was once again scratched due to a wrist injury he sustained on December 30th. Stanislav Galiev and Taylor Chorney were the healthy scratches for tonight’s game. Chorney played 40-straight games while Orpik was out of the lineup.
The Kings heavily out-shot the Caps through the first two periods, 31-20, The Capitals power play continues to struggle, going 0-4 through the first two periods. Andre Burakovsky continues his hot streak, scoring in the second period and adding an assist. The Capitals stepped-up the pressure late, possibly on a tiring Kings team, and scoring late to pull this one out. The Kings out-shot the Capitals 42-30 for the game. Philipp Grubauer would be the first star of this game, stopping 39 of 40 shots by the Kings. In his last nine appearances, Grubauer has posted a 4-2-0 record with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage. All of the game photos can be found here: Game stats can be found here: Player stats for the game can be found here:
The Caps would be the benefactors of the game’s first power play at 1:53 into the contest. The Kings’ goalie, Jonathan Quick would be sharp early, making a couple of nice saves. The Caps generated three shots on goal, but were unable to find the back of the net. 5-on-5 play was fairly even in the early going, with a moderate pace of play. T.J. Oshie was flagged for holding at 8:54, giving the Kings their first power play. The Caps penalty kill would do their job. As Oshie exited the penalty box, he grabbed a loose puck at center ice and had a clean break-away but was tripped by the Kings Alex Martinez, giving the Caps their second man-advantage of the opening frame. The Caps initially looked very disjointed, with two errant passes leading to turnovers. The tail-end of the power play saw two nice chances, but again, to no avail. Andre Burakovsky would be quickly nailed for holding at 13:22, the fourth penalty of the period. The Caps penalty kill would again shut things down, with no damages. The Kings would be called for the fifth penalty of the period, this time it would be Jordan Nolan for boarding at 16:01. The Caps would be burned on a short-handed goal by Anze Kopitar, who would knock in his own rebound at 16:43.
The short-handed goal was set-up by a nice defensive play by Drew Doughty, who deflected a Marcus Johansson pass intended for Alex Ovechkin. The puck was quickly collected and moved up ice by the Kings for the goal.
The first period would end with the Kings leading 1-0. The Kings also led in shots-on-goal, 12-9.
A fairly even start to the second period. The Kings would muster a couple of nice chances in the first five minutes, but Grubauer would come up strong with the stops. The Kings led 8-2 in shots-on-goal through the first five minutes of the middle frame. Tom Wilson and Luke Schenn would drop the gloves at 6:00 of the second period.
The tussle was the result of Wilson pushing a Kings player into Kings goalie Jonathan Quick. The Kings would ultimately get a power play as a result. The Caps would kill the penalty, their third kill of the game. The Kings began to control 5-on-5 play during the middle part of the second period, with several scoring chances but no net. The Caps would go back on the power play at when the King’s Brayden McNabb was called for hooking. Yet again, no pay dirt for the Caps. Andre Burakovsky would tie the game at 19:11.
The goal was set-up on a nice feed from Dmitry Orlov.
The second period would end in a 1-1 tie. The Kings were out-shooting the Caps 31-20 through two periods of play.
The Caps would get the first power play of the final frame, when Wilson drew a hooking call on the Kings Toffoli at 1:24 of the final frame. The Caps power play would once again come up empty. 5-on-5 play was fairly even through the first 10 minutes of the final frame. Evgeny Kuznetsov would grab the lead for the Caps on a nice feed from Justin Williams below the goal at 17:58.
Jason Chimera would add an empty net goal and seal the victory for the Capitals 3-1.