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What we learned from the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Capitals

What we learned from the Kings’ 3-2 loss to the Capitals
Washington's Lars Eller reacts after a teammate scored against goalie Jack Campbell and the Kings on Monday night. (Katharine Lotze / Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin shot the puck as if he were angry at it and the long losing streak his team had in Los Angeles.

He stamped a 3-2 win with two power-play goals, signature shots that have defined his career, as the Washington Capitals ended an eight-year losing spell at Staples Center.

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As is their trend lately, the Kings rallied short and lost their fourth consecutive game, not to mention a fair amount of pride that seems to leak out of their dressing room with each setback this season.

Here’s what we learned:

Jack Campbell is too hard on himself

It’s a good trait for a goalie to display, but in this case it might be unwarranted. Campbell, in his first back-to-back starts since early November, was left to defend one of the greatest one-timers in hockey history.

He had no chance on Ovechkin’s first goal but got a piece of his second goal.

“He’s a special player, but I still expect myself to save them every time,” Campbell said.

Campbell was angry after a loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday and sullen after the game Monday. Still, Campbell probably shouldn’t be blamed much. That was evident in the hugs and high-fives teammates gave him in the dressing room afterward that seemed to be an apology to their trusted netminder.

These losses are taking a toll

The looks on the faces of Campbell and Alex Iafallo after the game were that of a franchise circling the drain on a season.

Campbell was down and kicking himself. Iafallo looked worn and mentioned that “it’s an emotional toll on us.”

The painful part of transitioning into the future is that the present can be so uncomfortable, particularly for an organization relegated to playing out the string after it worked so hard for so long to integrate a winning culture.

The Kings should be better in the long run by getting a high draft pick, perhaps No. 1, if it plays out that way. In the meantime, they’ll have to endure at least a few more nights like Monday.

Jakub Vrana is a thorn in their side

Vrana scored the game-winning goal against the Kings earlier this month. He induced tripping penalties on Derek Forbort and Jeff Carter on Monday that led to Ovechkin’s two power-play goals.

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Vrana also had an assist to give him three goals and four points in five games against the Kings. Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov are the marquee names for the Capitals, but here’s guessing the Kings don’t want to see Vrana any time soon.

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