WASHINGTON -- Conventional wisdom says a team playing the second game of a back-to-back sequence should tire as the second game progresses.
So much for conventional wisdom.
The Kings scored three times in the third period Tuesday and then converted both of their shootout attempts against Jaroslav Halak to earn a 5-4 victory over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center, one day after they had wrested a 3-2 victory from the Flyers at Philadelphia.
The Kings had taken a 4-3 lead on third-period goals by Dwight King, Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown, but Evgeny Kuznetsov tied it with a shorthanded goal with 41.5 seconds left. Extra efforts by Eric Fehr and Alexander Ovechkin made the play possible, and Kuznetsov recorded his first NHL goal by tapping the puck home after it had squirted through Jonathan Quick’s pads.
The Kings and Capitals had gone to a shootout on March 20 at Staples Center, with the Kings prevailing, 2-1.
Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored for the Kings in the shootout, while Washington’s Kuznetsov and Fehr were unsuccessful.
The Kings have won seven straight road games and will finish this trip Thursday at Pittsburgh.
Overall, the Kings (42-25-6) have won four straight games.
Quick yielded two power-play goals to Ovechkin in the first period and a goal to former teammate Dustin Penner in the second period but he emerged the winner.
Before the game, Kings Coach Darryl Sutter had said he was well aware of how good the Capitals’ power play is. He got confirmation of that in the first period, when Ovechkin struck twice, each time with the man advantage.
Kings winger Tanner Pearson was serving a tripping penalty when Ovechkin and the Capitals scored the game’s first goal. Ovechkin set up along the left-wing boards and put the puck on net; Nicklas Backstrom was stationed by the right post but it appeared that the puck hopped up and deflected off Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr before eluding Quick at 2:24 of the first period.
Drew Doughty was serving a tripping penalty when Ovechkin ripped a shot from the left circle and past Quick at 7:04. That was his 48th goal this season.
The Kings gained a power play when Mike Green was penalized for holding at 7:04, but they mustered only one shot with the man advantage.
Mike Richards swept home the rebound of a shot by Alec Martinez at 2:53 of the second period, with three seconds left on a power play, but the Capitals came back later to score at even strength and extend their lead to 3-1.
Richards was on his backhand when he pounced on the rebound of Martinez’s shot and earned his 11th goal this season. The Capitals, however, scored the game’s first even-strength goal at 17:18, when Martinez couldn’t clear a loose puck and instead put it on Penner’s stick, and Penner didn’t miss.
The Kings applied considerable pressure early in the third period, resulting in Dwight King’s goal 45 seconds into the period. He was going to the net for a rebound or deflection of Brown’s shot, and King was able to get behind the Capitals’ defense and poke the puck past Halak.
A few minutes later, King beat Halak again but hit the post.
But the Kings’ persistence paid off when they pulled even at 8:41 of the third. Defenseman Jake Muzzin kept the puck in the zone and got it deep to Tyler Toffoli, who read the play well and quickly relayed it to Gaborik in the left circle for a quick, hard shot that Halak had no chance of stopping. It was Gaborik’s third goal in 10 games since the Kings acquired him from Columbus on March 5.
It felt almost inevitable that the Kings would take the lead, and they did, at 12:55. Washington won a faceoff in its own zone but defenseman Patrick Wey fumbled the puck and it was picked up by Jarret Stoll. He got it to King, who fed Brown for a wrist shot that became Brown’s 14th goal this season.
But Kuznetsov provided the last-minute dramatics that sent the game to overtime, and, eventually, the shootout.
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