WASHINGTON — Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored in the shootout, and the Los Angeles Kings came back after allowing Alex Ovechkin’s two early power-play goals to beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Tuesday night.
The shootout score was 2-0, because Kings goalie Jonathan Quick caught Eric Fehr’s attempt, after rookie forward Evgeny Kuznetsov whiffed on his opening shot for Washington.
Kuznetsov had tied the game with 41.5 seconds left in regulation with his first NHL goal.
After trailing 2-0 only 7½ minutes in, then 3-1 entering the third period, the Kings wound up winning their seventh consecutive road game. They also have seven victories in a row over Washington.
Mike Richards, Dwight King, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings in regulation. Dustin Penner netted his first goal for the Capitals since arriving from Anaheim at the trade deadline.
There was a scary moment halfway through overtime, when Ovechkin and a teammate, defenseman Jack Hillen, collided at center ice. Hillen’s helmet slammed into Ovechkin’s chest, and the game was put on hold for a bit. Ovechkin took a knee, and returned to the game, but Hillen got the worst of the impact and remained face-down on the ice while a trainer checked on him.
It was a wild, back-and-forth game, and Kuznetsov’s tying, short-handed goal came when he reached in to knock home a loose puck after it trickled through Quick’s pads as the goalie stopped a shot by Ovechkin. Plenty of fans thought Ovechkin was responsible for his third goal of the night, and they tossed their hats onto the ice.
The crowd rose to applaud the Capitals as the game headed to overtime, but Washington couldn’t finish of the win as it tries to earn a postseason berth. Washington is just on the outside of the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Washington had won four of five. The Kings have won four straight and appear to be safe in the West.
That is consistent with their nature as a streaky team over the past couple of months. Since Jan. 18, they have lost nine of 10, then won eight in a row, and then lost three, before the current run.
The Kings didn’t look good at the start Tuesday, though, as Ovechkin raised his NHL-high total to 48 goals.
In a span of 4 minutes, 40 seconds in the first period, Ovechkin matched his scoring output for the previous nine games combined. And not surprisingly, the three-time league MVP did it on Washington’s dangerous power play, which came into the night clicking at a 34 percent rate over the past month.
The Kings had killed the past 12 penalties they took before Tuesday, and Ovechkin’s 2 for 2 showing to that point was all the more impressive. His 22 power-play goals are the most in the league.
The Kings converted on a power play after the Capitals had killed 19 straight before Tuesday. They extended that to 20 by shutting down Los Angeles’ first opportunity. Richards scored with 3 seconds left on the second man-advantage.
Alec Martinez took a shot that was deflected. The puck trickled free, and Richards curled his stick around defenseman Hillen to make it 2-1 at 2:53 of the second period.
Washington restored its two-goal lead on Penner’s goal, which gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead with a little more than 2½ minutes left in the second.
Just 45 seconds into the third, King scored off a rebound to get Los Angeles within 3-2, and the Kings tied it with 11:19 left on Gaborik’s ninth goal, before Brown put them ahead.
NOTES: Midway through the second period, Capitals F Troy Brouwer and Kings D Willie Mitchell were both called for penalties after a skirmish in front of Quick’s net. Brouwer stayed down on the ice for a bit, then was helped up and led to the locker room. It wasn’t immediately clear what was wrong. … The Kings’ record is eight straight road wins, in the 1974-75 season.
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