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Balance carries Kings to fourth-straight victory

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

- Points from nine different players drove the Kings to their fourth-straight victory Thursday night in a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals at STAPLES Center.

The Kings played a solid game throughout, keeping Washington’s notoriously dangerous power play off the board, and forcing the Capitals’ offense to the outside for much of the evening.

The team effort showed itself on the ice, but it also resonated to the score sheet, where nine different players recorded a point in the creation of the Kings’ three goals Thursday night.

“We were really good in our own zone,” Darryl Sutter noted following the win. “We were able to kill a big penalty with the first one to Drew; we blocked some shots against Ovechkin and Jonathan made some big saves. Three different lines scored, we got some decent minutes out of our defensemen.”

The Kings put the pressure on the Capitals from the start, outshooting Washington 14-8 in the first period, and scouring Braden Holtby with a myriad of early scoring opportunities. The Kings finally beat Holtby, though, in the second period when Dwight King scored his third goal in as many games. Holtby shut out the Kings on February 3.

Midway through the second period, as the Kings worked the puck low in Washington’s zone, Jeff Carter fed Tyler Toffoli a pass atop the Capitals’ slot. Toffoli got a shot off, Holtby got a piece of it, and Dwight King crashed Washington’s net to bury the loose rebound sitting behind the Capitals’ goaltender.

Entering the third period with a 1-0 lead, it took the Kings only 17 seconds to add to it. Marian Gaborik pounced on a bouncing puck in the neutral zone and sped into Washington’s zone on a two-on-one rush with Trevor Lewis. Gaborik fed Lewis, who made a quick move to his backhand to give the Kings a 2-0 lead.

Just over a minute after Lewis’ marker, Alex Ovechkin buried what would be the Capitals’ only goal of the evening, rocketing a one-time slap shot past Jonathan Quick.

The Kings took a 3-1 lead with 12:51 to play in regulation with a little help from a friendly bounce. As the Kings attacked Washington’s zone, Dustin Brown fed a centering pass that ricochet off the skate of Justin Williams and onto the stick of Jarret Stoll who was all alone in front of Washington’s net. Stoll, with a quick touch, redirected the puck past Braden Holtby.

“It was a pretty consistent 60 minutes,” Trevor Lewis said following the win. “They got one goal four-on-four, which I think we can clean up a little bit, and there are still a couple of things we can clean up. Overall the effort was better, the physical play was there and we got our chances off of it.”

Nine different Kings players recorded a point, Dwight King led all Kings players in shots taken (7), Jarret Stoll in hits delivered (6), Matt Greene in shots blocked (3), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (28:47). Jonathan Quick made 27 saves in the win.

With the win, the Kings’ record improves to 25-18-12; their mark on home ice at STAPLES Center bumps up to 18-6-6. The Kings have now won four straight games; they’ll finish their three-game home stand when the Tampa Bay Lightning pay a visit to STAPLES Center on Monday night. The puck is slated to drop at 7:30PM PT.

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