Kings beat Capitals 3-1 for fourth straight victory

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Defense created much of the offense for the Los Angeles Kings in a solid two-way performance against the Washington Capitals.

Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll scored third-period goals and Dwight King also found the net for the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.

“It was a pretty consistent 60 minutes,” Lewis said. “There were a couple of things we can clean up, but overall I thought the effort was better. The physical play was there and we got our chances off of it. We’re a good team when we’re a good checking team, and limiting the other team’s grade-A chances is big for us.”

The defending Stanley Cup champions have won four in a row, their longest streak since a six-game stretch that followed season-opening losses to the San Jose Sharks and Arizona Coyotes. Jonathan Quick made 27 saves.

“We were really good in our own zone,” coach Darryl Sutter said. “We blocked some shots against (Alex) Ovechkin and Jonathan made some big saves. Three different lines scored, and we got some decent minutes out of our defensemen.”

Ovechkin did score his 34th goal of the season and 456th of his career. That tied Detroit Red Wings great Alex Delvecchip for 54th place on the all-time list.

The Capitals lost to the Kings for the eighth time in their last nine meetings with the exception being a 4-0 win on Feb. 3 at Washington.

“We had everybody going that night and they didn’t have enough people going. Tonight it was the reverse,” coach Barry Trotz said. “They had a lot of people going and we didn’t have enough.”

Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots for the Capitals, who were coming off a 5-4 overtime victory at San Jose on Wednesday and had won four of their previous five games.

“It wasn’t a very good effort on our part, obviously — especially the first two periods,” said Holtby, who was hung out to dry by his teammates on several occasions. “We know we got beat by our own mistakes tonight.

“In the third period, I think they went into a bit of a defensive shell and that made it seem like we were playing better. But we can’t play this way — myself, too,” he said.

Holtby stopped the first 17 shots he faced before the Kings opened the scoring at 9:03 of the first. Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik tried to clear the puck off the boards behind his net, but Jeff Carter gained possession in the right corner and found Tyler Toffoli in the low slot. Holtby turned aside Toffoli’s wrist shot before King converted the rebound.

Marian Gaborik, who turned 33 years old on Saturday, set up Lewis in front for a 2-0 lead just 17 seconds into the third period.

“Overall, I think they were hungrier than us and they played quicker,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said.

The teams were skating four-on-four when Ovechkin got Washington on the board at 1:55 of the third with a one-timer from the left circle, his 18th goal in his last 21 games. But Stoll responded with his sixth of the season on a perfect setup by captain Dustin Brown with 12:51 to play. Another assist went to Justin Williams, who was playing in his 400th regular-season games with the Kings.

“A lot of credit goes to them. They came in, put pucks deep, hung onto them and really grinded it out,” Washington coach Barry Trotz said. “We didn’t have enough urgency in our game.”

NOTES: Ovechkin, who has scored at least 30 goals in each of his 10 NHL seasons, has lead the league in shots on net nine times — including this season. The only time he didn’t was 2011-12, when he finished 36 behind Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. … Kings coach Darryl Sutter overtook Larry Robinson for fourth place on the franchise list with his 234th victory in the regular season. The Capitals also were the opponent when Sutter got his 500th overall win on March 20, 2014 at Staples Center — the same night Quick tied Rogie Vachon for the most career victories by a Kings goalie. … The Capitals have never shut out the Kings in Los Angeles in 53 attempts since joining the NHL in 1974-75. … Quick surpassed the 10,000 mark in shots faced during the regular season, becoming the 65th NHL goalie to reach that figure.

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