Kings implode, allowing four third-period goals in loss to Capitals
During the second intermission when they were again trailing by two goals, Washington Capitals players shared with each other a simple message.
“We said in here, ‘We already did it once this year and we can do it again,’” Marcus Johansson said.
Then they did. The Capitals erased a second multigoal third-period deficit in a week, beating the Kings 4-3 on Saturday night.
“We just kept working hard, I think we executed a little bit better maybe, but we stuck with it,” Johansson said.
With the memory of a similar comeback Monday against Vancouver fresh, Nic Dowd and John Carlson scored to erase the deficit, Lars Eller put Washington ahead and — after Los Angeles tied it — Johansson got a wraparound goal past Jonathan Quick with 5:25 to respond.
It didn’t take much for members of one of oldest teams in the NHL to believe another rally was possible.
“As soon as Dowder scored, I felt like, ‘OK, here we go,’” said Johansson, who has five points in six games. “We got some looks and it started going in.”
Dmitry Orlov tied a career high with three assists, and Darcy Kuemper made 21 saves, including a couple important stops in the final minute. Washington has won three of four games after dropping its first two.
Despite Viktor Arvidsson setting up two goals and tying it in the third and Quick stopping 28 of the 32 shots he faced, Los Angeles has lost two in a row to wrap up a five-game trip after getting blown out in Pittsburgh on Thursday night. The Kings won the first three on the trip and now return home on a sour note after blowing a two-goal lead.
“Obviously, the last two, the Pittsburgh one we weren’t real pleased with,” coach Todd McLellan said. “This game wasn’t a disaster, although we gave up four in the third to lose it. So we’re still not where we need to be, quite frankly.”
The Capitals are not either, but at 3-3 they’ve been able to pick up some points early without top forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson and after losing winger Connor Brown to a long-term injury. After a dud of a 5-2 loss Thursday in Ottawa, Washington’s third period could prove significant in the long term with the next four on the road.
Gabriel Vilardi scored the shootout winner and had a goal and an assist in regulation in the Kings’ 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
“At the start of the season, everybody’s close to each other so you try to get more points and get better position in the standings because it’s a long season,” Orlov said. I think this season we got a lot of road trips, long road trips, and it’s going to be difficult and we need to especially be good at home. We weren’t last year, and I think we tried to be good this season, get more points at home than last year.”
Notes: Peter Laviolette coached the Capitals after being considered a game-time decision with an illness not related to COVID-19. Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov returned after serving a one-game suspension for high-sticking. Kings defenseman Alexander Edler returned from a three-game absence after getting struck in the face by a puck in warmups Monday.
Up next for the Kings: Hosting Tampa Bay on Monday night to begin a three-game homestand.
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