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Kings aim to continue road success against Capitals

by Adam Kimelman

KINGS (41-25-6) at CAPITALS (34-27-11)


Last 10: Los Angeles 7-3-0; Washington 5-4-1

Season series: It's the second and final regular-season game between the Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings. On March 20, Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots in regulation and overtime and Jeff Carter and Marian Gaborik scored in the shootout to lead the Kings to a 2-1 win at Staples Center.

Big story: The Capitals are known as a high-flying team, but with time running out in the regular season, Washington coach Adam Oates said he wants his team to be able to win by grinding out games against the big, physical opponents they'll see in their next two games, the Kings on Tuesday and the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

"They don't give you anything," Oates said. "They don't. You've got to work for everything you get. If you don't have that attitude, you're going to get spanked. It could be a 1-0 game. If we win 1-0, I'm going to be happy the next day. ... It's got to be that mentality and if that affects production, I've got no problem with it."

The Kings will try to sweep their back-to-back games; they've managed that three times in nine previous back-to-backs. Playing this set of back-to-backs is a bit easier, however. The Kings left after their 3-2 win at the Philadelphia Flyers by train Monday night for a short ride down to Washington.

"Game 1 is nice," Kings forward Justin Williams said Monday. "It's nice playing in the East Coast. You don't have to fly. We're going to take a train here, so that's nice."

Team scope:

Kings: The road has been a good place for the Kings. The win Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers extended their win streak to six games away from Staples Center.

"We're a good team on the road," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We're not good enough at home. That's what's hurt us this year. When we're on the road we seem comfortable. That's a good thing."

Kings center Mike Richards believes success on the road will equate to success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Especially the way it played Monday in Philadelphia after the Flyers rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit, but the Kings stayed resilient to get the game-winner 2:18 after the Flyers tied it.

"We've done some good things on the road," he said. "It's good to see it with playoffs, which we're leading up to. We have to continue to build our game. I thought we've been doing that. We had a little bit of a lull at home, but the difference in the margin from winning to losing is one mistake right now. It's good to see us get that bounce [Monday] and get the win."

Capitals: The Capitals earned five of six points on their three-game swing through California last week. Of the six non-shootout goals they scored in going 2-0-1, four came at even-strength but none were scored by a top-six forward; Joel Ward scored two and Eric Fehr and Chris Brown each had one.

"I think something that the first two lines need to do is look at our third line," top-line center Nicklas Backstrom told the Washington Post, referencing the combination of Jason Chimera, Fehr and Ward. "They're cycling the puck, and off that they create chances. I think our first lines haven't been doing that, not the whole year. That's something we need to do. We've been talking about it but we need a better effort from the top guys for sure."

However, Oates isn't all that concerned. As long as the team as a whole is playing well and producing offensively, he's not concerned with who is scoring the goals or when they go in.

"Our goals-against is down, our zone time ... we played much better as a team, which means that those two lines are contributing to that factor," Oates told the newspaper. "I don't really measure the production. ... You want everybody to play well so the team can play well."

Who's hot: Kings Jeff Carter's goal Monday against the Flyers gave him four points in his past three games. … Ward has four goals and an assist in his past five games.

Injury report: The Kings have no reported injuries. ... The Capitals are missing forwards Aaron Volpatti (upper body), Mikhail Grabovski (ankle) and Brooks Laich (groin), and defenseman John Erskine (upper body). Goaltender Jaroslav Halak (lower body) is questionable.


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