LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Los Angeles Kings beat Washington by playing the Capitals’ wide-open style.
“It was that circle-the-wagon concept on defense,” Kings coach Andy Murray said. “We certainly weren’t as disciplined, but you have to give the Capitals credit. They make it difficult for you to stay in your defensive structure and they pulled us out of it. But the bottom line is, we got the two points.”
Martin Straka and Trent Klatt also scored for the Pacific Division-leading Kings, who won for the fourth time in five games and chased Washington goaltender Olaf Kolzig with almost eight minutes remaining after building a 6-3 lead.
“We knew he’s been struggling with his game a little bit lately, so we wanted to get some shots on him and get him rattled,” said Eric Belanger, who assisted on the tying and go-ahead goals. “He’s a goalie who used to play a lot more at the top of his crease, but right now he’s back in his net a little bit and he gives up a lot of rebounds.”
Sergei Gonchar and Robert Lang scored less than 1 1/2 minutes apart early in the first period and Joel Kwiatkowski also scored for the Capitals, who were outshot 37-33. Peter Bondra and Jaromir Jagr each had two assists for Washington.
The Capitals, held to only nine shots on net in Thursday’s 3-0 loss at New Jersey, had 11 in the first period alone against Roman Cechmanek and built a 2-0 lead by the 4:21 mark with Gonchar’s third goal of the season and Lang’s 15th. But the Kings responded with four straight goals in just under seven minutes.
“We had a 2-0 lead on the road, and I think we should protect it better,” Bondra said. “We made some mistakes. When you don’t have the confidence in the way you’re playing, you don’t believe in yourself.”
Straka ignited the Kings’ rally with less than two minutes left in the first with his sixth goal—and second in three games since the Kings obtained him in a trade with Pittsburgh last Sunday.
“They were on top of us at the start of the game and played us extremely strong at the start, but we found a way to get back into it,” Murray said. “The first goal near the end of the first period was very important for us, and there were some key saves by Roman when the game was on the line. I mean, if they go up 3-0, it looks pretty bleak.”
Frolov tied it 21 seconds into the second period, backhanding his eighth goal past Kolzig during a goalmouth scramble. Klatt converted Frolov’s centering pass to put the Kings ahead to stay, and Cammalleri made it 4-2 at 4:03 of the second when he carried the puck around the net and beat Kolzig with a short backhander.
That should have been enough for the Kings, because the Capitals haven’t overcome a two-goal deficit all season.
Kwiatkowski narrowed the gap to 4-3 about eight minutes later, but Los Angeles put it away with a three-goal third period, including a short-handed goal by Palffy and a power-play goal by Cammalleri.
“We got Stumpy back, we got Ziggy back, and now we’ve got Straka. So we’ve got a lot of talent on three lines, and every line had been producing,” Belanger said. “Our line has been great the last five or six games, and the line with Stumpy, Ziggy and Straka has been clicking also. So there are a lotof combinations we can throw out there.”
Cechmanek, coming off his fourth shutout of the season, finished with 30 saves. … Cammalleri’s second goal was the second Washington allowed this season while short-handed. The Capitals allowed only four short-handed goals last season, tying the Kings, Detroit and New Jersey for the fewest allowed in the league. … The Capitals would have been on a power play at the time of Straka’s goal. But Bondra received an unsportmanlike conduct penalty for diving when he was tripped by Kings defenseman Aaron Miller—nullifying the man advantage. … Lang, who got both of Washington’s goals in a 3-2 home loss to the Kings on Nov. 10, was the NHL’s offensive player of the month for November. He played his first 147 NHL games with Los Angeles and scored 19 goals. … TheCapitals are 0-17-1 when trailing after two periods.
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