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Kings 2, Capitals 1 (SO)

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Winger Marian Gaborik scored the game winning shootout goal and goaltender Jonathan Quick made 21 saves as the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Thursday.

Los Angeles (39-25-8) snapped a three-game losing streak and maintained its five point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes for third place in the Pacific Division. Kings coach Darryl Sutter earned his 500th regular season victory with the win.

The Kings blew a third-period lead for the second consecutive game as Washington winger Joel Ward tied the game at 1 at 12:24. Ward outfought Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and converted a wrist shot from 15 feet out. Ward's 22nd goal of the season was assisted by winger Evgeny Kunestov and center Nicklas Backstrom.

The Kings opened the scoring on center Anze Kopiitar's 22nd goal of the season at 14:09 of the first period. Winger Justin Williams threw a stretch pass that was retrieved by Gaborik in the left offensive zone corner. Gaborik's short pass was taken by Kopitar, who then fired a wrist shot from 13 feet.

Washington had a golden opportunity to win the game in overtime when Los Angeles defenseman Robyn Regher was called for hooking at 53 seconds in. The Capitals could not covert the as winger Troy Brouwer was stopped at point-blank range twice by Quick. Washington continued to dominate overtime, but Quick was at his best in the extra session to move the game into the shootout.

Los Angeles' trademark defense showed up after a one-game absence against Phoenix on Monday. The Kings held the Capitals off the board through 30 minutes and limited them to just eight shots on goal. Winger Troy Brouwer had the Capitals' best chance in the middle frame when he got in alone with less than two minutes remaining but Quick was able to steer his tipped shot away.

The Capitals (33-27-11) had a three-game winning streak snapped, but climbed to within one point of the final playoff spot with the overtime loss. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves.

NOTES: Washington scratched D John Erskine, C Brooks Laich and C Connor Carrick. ... Capitals RW Troy Brouwer played in his 200th game for the franchise. ... Washington recalled C Chris Brown and re-assigned C Casey Wellman to the AHL Hersey club. ... Los Angeles did not dress D Matt Greene and RW Jordan Nolan. ... Kings captain RW Dustin Brown returned to the lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury. ... The two teams will meet again Tuesday in Washington to conclude their season series.
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