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Kings ruin Ovechkin's milestone night

by Brian Hunter
Alex Ovechkin reached a milestone Thursday. But by the end of the night a rookie goaltender had stolen his thunder.

Jonathan Quick made 41 saves, including an eye-opening 20 in the third period, and the Los Angeles Kings got a pair of goals and an assist from Anze Kopitar as they held off the Washington Capitals 5-4 at the Verizon Center.

"Maybe we were giving them too much respect in the beginning," Kopitar said. "But after we picked up our game, I think we played pretty good."

Ovechkin's goal midway through the third period was his NHL-leading 37th of the season and the 200th of his brief-but-brilliant career. He's the fifth-quickest in League history to reach the mark, needing just 296 games.

But the two points the Caps didn't get, rather than the goal he did, was on Ovechkin's mind after the game.

"We didn't play well for two periods, and they just used our mistakes," Ovechkin said, his voice a low monotone. "I don't want to talk about my personal stats today."

Ovechkin's goal at 10:32 made it a 4-3 game, but Kyle Calder restored the Kings' two-goal lead when he scored with 1:33 remaining. That turned out to be the winner when Brooks Laich tipped in Mike Green's shot 27 seconds later after the Caps had pulled Jose Theodore. The Capitals spent the rest of the game in the Kings' zone -- but Quick lived up to his name with a number of superb saves.

"Very exciting there at the end of the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said.

Michal Handzus had a shorthanded goal and Patrick O'Sullivan also scored for Los Angeles, which improved to 2-1-0 on a five-game road trip that has games remaining against the Devils and Islanders. Quick was coming off a 1-0 shutout of Ottawa on Tuesday.

Washington opened the scoring on Alexander Semin's goal 15 seconds into the game, and Green tallied for the fifth straight game, a team record for defensemen, but the Capitals saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

"The first two periods were as bad as we played all year," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I don't even like to use the word 'sleepy,' but we weren't paying attention at all. They got good speed and they were coming up the middle well, but our guys, looking at the tape already, we were all over the place. We weren't playing anywhere near what we were supposed to be doing."

Kopitar snapped a 1-1 tie 13 seconds into the middle period, and the Kings never trailed after that. Alexander Frolov, who had a pair of assists, sent a pass from along the boards ahead to Kopitar and he beat Theodore over his right shoulder for his second goal of the game.

O'Sullivan picked up a hooking penalty at 31 seconds, but Handzus made it 3-1 when he converted a rebound at 1:02 after Theodore stopped Frolov on a shorthanded breakaway. With the Capitals still on the power play, Green, who leads all defensemen in goals, scored 41 seconds later for his 17th of the season.

"Pucks are just going in. Guys are making good plays," Green said of his prolific production. "I don't really worry about it."

O'Sullivan put the Kings ahead 4-2 when he got behind the Caps' defense and beat Theodore on a breakaway at 7:26. Quick stopped 21 of 23 shots as Los Angeles carried that two-goal lead into the third, but he needed to be at his best down the stretch to hold off Washington's late flurry.
"In the third period, I thought we had a little more energy than them," Boudreau said.

The fans were barely in their seats when Laich set up Semin for a wrist shot inside the left post and a quick 1-0 lead for the Capitals. But two 1:06 apart set up a 5-on-3 advantage for the Kings later in the period, and Kopitar tied the game at 8:55 with a shot past a screened Theodore.

"I don't know what's happening with us, but after (Semin's) goal, we just stopped playing," Ovechkin said. "Didn't play our system. We didn't finish checks. We didn't shoot the puck. We didn't play our game."

Material from wire services and team broadcast media was used in this report.


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