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Game Recap

Postgame Notebook: Kings 5, Capitals 4

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:48 AM

Mike Vogel  - WashingtonCaps.com Senior Writer

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Postgame Notebook: Kings 5, Capitals 4
Los Angeles Kings 5, Washington Capitals 4

Breaking Away – It took a spirited – but ultimately short – third period effort on the part of the Capitals to prevent tonight’s game from being the worst played by the team in the first 53 games of the ’08-09 schedule. That said, the first 40 minutes might be the worst 40 minutes Washington has put forth thus far this season.

“The first two periods were as bad as we’ve played all year,” lamented Caps coach Bruce Boudreau afterwards. “They’ve got good speed, and they were coming up the middle well. Our guys were all over the place. We weren’t playing anywhere near what we’re supposed to be doing. That’s the frustrating part of the game.”

Los Angeles had plenty of time and space while Washington had little, and the Kings took advantage of the Capitals’ defensive largesse to forge a 4-2 lead after the first two frames. Most damning for the Caps was the first 62 seconds of the middle period, in which Washington was victimized for a pair of breakaway tallies, one of them a shorthanded strike from the Kings’ Michal Handzus.

The Caps’ defense and forwards were almost constantly out of position and terminally out of synch in the first two periods. The Kings buzzed the Washington zone, forechecked tenaciously and displayed smart and effective sticks in their own end. They pressured the Caps up high and managed to thwart most of Washington’s shots from beyond the circles.

Washington scored twice in the first two frames, and those two tallies represented the most time and space any Capitals-sweatered skater had in the first two periods.

The Caps poured it on the Kings in the third in a desperate attempt to claw their way back into the contest. Washington generated 22 of its 45 shots on goal in the third and scored two of its four goals in the final frame, and it had a number of other strong chances broken up before shots on goal could materialize.

Washington pulled to within one on Alex Ovechkin’s goal midway through the third, but Kyle Calder scored with just 1:33 left to restore the Kings’ two-goal cushion. The Caps had four forwards on the ice at the time in a bid to get the equalizer, and two of them were hanging in the neutral zone waiting for a chance to materialize while Calder and his linemates were working down low in the Caps’ zone.

Brooks Laich made it 5-4 with a nifty deflection of a Mike Green point shot with 1:06 left, and Washington was able to create a number of strong but unsuccessful bids for the equalizer thereafter. The Caps won four face-offs in the final 66 seconds, three of them in the offensive zone. Washington fired four shots netward during that span, Laich’s wrister from the slot with 24 seconds left being the best bid of the quartet.

“They’ve beaten us twice and we’re a better team than them,” noted Boudreau of the Kings, who took a 5-2 decision from the Caps in Los Angeles on Nov. 20. “That’s a real negative when you’ve lost eight points to Columbus and L.A. Taking nothing away from those teams, but they’re well below us in the standings even if they are in the West[ern Conference].”

200 for 8 – Alex Ovechkin netted the 200th goal of his NHL career in the third period of Thursday’s game. Although the goal went in the books as an unassisted tally, some credit should be given to Alexander Semin for some good corner work to force the turnover which led to Ovechkin’s whip of a wrister that beat L.A. netminder Jonathan Quick.

Ovechkin becomes just the fifth player in NHL history to reach the 200 milestone before playing in his 300th game in the league. Thursday was the 296th time Ovi laced up the blades for an NHL tilt. The only four players to get to 200 faster than Ovechkin are Wayne Gretzky (242 games), Mike Bossy (255), Mario Lemieux (277) and Brett Hull (280).

Among all active players in the NHL, Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne (322) is the only player besides Ovechkin to achieve the feat in fewer than 350 games.

Fast Start – Semin’s goal at the 15-second mark of the first period was the Caps’ fastest at the start of a game this season. Semin’s goal was the fastest by a Capital at the start of a game since Ben Clymer victimized Philadelphia’s Robert Esche exactly 15 seconds into a Jan. 9, 2007 game at Verizon Center.

Semin's goal was his 20th of the season. It's the third straight season in which he has reached that plateau.

Unlucky 13 – The Kings’ Anze Kopitar netted L.A.’s first goal of the night on a two-man advantage at 8:55 of the first period on Thursday, marking the 13th consecutive game in which Washington has surrendered at least one power play goal. Kopitar’s goal gives the 2008-09 Caps the dubious distinction of having the longest streak with at least one power play goal against in franchise history.

During the last 13 games, the Caps are 7-5-1 and they have killed 53 of 71 (74.6%) opposition power plays.

Medical Update – Caps captain Chris Clark underwent successful surgery on his right forearm today. There is no immediate word on a timetable as to how long No. 17 will be sidelined.

Goaltender Brent Johnson will have surgery on his ailing hip this Tuesday. He is expected to be out of action for 6-8 weeks.

Center Brooks Laich is a magnet for pain against the Kings. He famously withstood a barrage of shots on the penalty kill the last time the Caps and Kings hooked up, and he got dented in the calf by an L.A. power play blast again tonight. Laich returned to the game and scored his 13th goal of the season, but his 15:47 for the night was a good bit beneath his seasonal average of 17:38.

Laich is listed as day-to-day. He, Nicklas Backstrom and Milan Jurcina are the only three Caps who have suited up for all 53 games.

5-on-3 Disparity – Thursday marked the fourth straight game in which Washington’s opponent was the beneficiary of a two-man advantage. It was the second straight game in which the Caps’ opponent scored on a 5-on-3.

For the season, Capitals opponents have had 25 two-man advantages totaling 21:01. They’ve scored on nine of those 25 opportunities. Washington has had just 10 two-man advantage chances of its own, totaling exactly 10 minutes. The Caps have clicked twice in those 10 opportunities.

Short Stuff – Michal Handzus netted a shorthanded goal on Thursday, the second time in as many games and the sixth time this season the Caps have allowed a shorthanded strike.

Record Setter – Mike Green erased Calle Johansson, Al Iafrate and Sergei Gonchar from the Washington record books when he scored a power play goal in the second period of Thursday’s game. Green has now scored a goal in five straight games, a club record for most consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman.

The record setting goal came off a sublime pass from Backstrom, who put the puck neatly through the skates of one Greene [Matt] and on the tape of another Green [Mike].

Western Woes – Washington is now 7-9 against Western Conference opponents this season. The Caps are 26-7-4 against fellow Eastern Conference occupants.

Kings of the District – Los Angeles has had good success at Verizon Center; it has lost only one regulation game in the Phone Booth. The Kings are 5-0-2 in their last seven visits to the nation’s Capital. The only game the Kings have lost at Verizon Center was on April 4, 1998 in their first ever visit to the building.

Road Warriors – Beginning with its current five-game road trip (brought about by the Grammy Awards taking up temporary residence at the Staples Center), Los Angeles will play 24 of its final 35 games on the road this season.

Los Angeles won only three of its first 11 road games this season, but the young and plucky Kings are now 6-2-1 in their last nine road games. Los Angeles has not won as many as 18 road games in a season since 2001-02. Not coincidentally, that’s the last time the Kings made the playoffs. They’ll likely need to win at least 18 on the road this season if they’re to earn a berth in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Quick Stop – Quick fashioned a 29-save shutout at Ottawa on Tuesday night, helping the Kings to a 1-0 win over the Sens. His shutout bid was gone just 15 seconds into Thursday’s game, but he persevered and was excellent in the third period when he stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced.

Washington fired 45 shots on the rookie Los Angeles netminder on Thursday, the most he has faced in his brief 20-game NHL career.

One Up – With Thursday’s win, the Kings have moved one game over what passes for .500 in the modern NHL for the first time since mid-December. Los Angeles now stands at 22-21-7 on the season.

Stingy – The Kings came into Thursday’s game having allowed the second fewest shots on goal per game in the league this season at 27. The Caps’ total of 45 is the most shots on goal permitted in a game by Los Angeles this season, and it is just the fourth time in 50 games the Kings have allowed 40 or more shots.

Credit should also be given to the young L.A. blueline which blocked another 18 intended shots on goal.


scoring summary
1st Period
Alexander Semin (20) ASST: Brooks Laich (18)
1 - 0 WSH
PPG - Anze Kopitar (13) ASST: Jarret Stoll (16), Dustin Brown (19)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
Anze Kopitar (14) ASST: Alex Frolov (14), Sean O'Donnell (9)
2 - 1 LAK
SHG - Michal Handzus (10) ASST: Alex Frolov (15)
3 - 1 LAK
PPG - Mike Green (17) ASST: Nicklas Backstrom (41), Jose Theodore (3)
3 - 2 LAK
Patrick O'Sullivan (12) ASST: Anze Kopitar (27), Kyle Quincey (25)
4 - 2 LAK
3rd Period
Alex Ovechkin (37) ASST: NONE
4 - 3 LAK
Kyle Calder (7) ASST: Dustin Brown (20), Jarret Stoll (17)
5 - 3 LAK
Brooks Laich (13) ASST: Mike Green (27), Nicklas Backstrom (42)
5 - 4 LAK
penalty summary
1st Period
Raitis Ivanans  Hooking against  Boyd Gordon
Mike Green  Slashing against  Alex Frolov
David Steckel  Tripping against  Jack Johnson
Shaone Morrisonn  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
Jarret Stoll  Interference on goalkeeper against  Jose Theodore
2nd Period
Patrick O'Sullivan  Holding against  Nicklas Backstrom
Shaone Morrisonn  Slashing against  Dustin Brown
Nicklas Backstrom  Holding against  Dustin Brown
Matt Bradley  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Greene
Matt Greene  Fighting (maj) against  Matt Bradley
Michal Handzus  Hi-sticking against  Alexander Semin
Alexander Semin  Roughing against  Michal Handzus
Jack Johnson  Hi-sticking against  David Steckel
Jack Johnson  Roughing against  David Steckel
David Steckel  Roughing against  Jack Johnson
3rd Period
John Erskine  Hooking against  Dustin Brown
goalie stats
Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick
SA: 45TOI: 59:49
Saves: 41EV: 39 - 42
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .911SH: 0 - 0
Jose Theodore
Jose Theodore
SA: 35TOI: 58:20
Saves: 30EV: 22 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 5
SV%: .857SH: 4 - 5