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Kings shut down Capitals for fourth straight victory

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- The revamped version of "That '70s Line" picked up where it left off, and the rest of the Los Angeles Kings followed their cue in a 3-1 win against the Washington Capitals at Staples Center on Saturday.

Dwight King, Trevor Lewis and Jarret Stoll scored and goalie Jonathan Quick made 27 saves as the Kings (25-18-12) won their fourth straight game to remain three points behind the Calgary Flames, who own the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

It is the Kings' longest streak since they won six in a row from Oct. 12-26, and they seem to have gotten back to the tight-checking, opportunistic style that has defined them during the past three seasons.

"When we're a good checking team, we're a good team, and limiting the other team's Grade-A chances is big for us," Lewis said.

Los Angeles directed 63 shots at Washington's net; 30 got through, 18 missed the target and 15 were blocked. Quick was excellent, especially early. Kings coach Darryl Sutter gave passing grades all around.

"We were really good in our own zone," Sutter said. "We were able to kill a big penalty [in the first period] to Drew [Doughty]. That was big against them. 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."

The Capitals (29-17-10) are 1-1-0 on a four-game road trip that continues Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks. The common theme from their room was that they didn't match the Kings' passion.

"They played like the game really, really meant something to them and we weren't at their level, and that accounts for, for sure, the first half of the game -- just the difference in shots and puck possession, all those things," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "They wanted it way more than we did tonight."

The new '70s line, with King replacing injured forward Tanner Pearson, has carried the Kings with nine goals and nine assists in the past four games. But the unheralded Stoll and Lewis rounded out depth scoring. Lewis finished a 2-on-1 with Marian Gaborik 17 seconds into the third and Stoll redirected Dustin Brown's pass behind Braden Holtby at 7:09 of the third. Lewis beat Holtby with a backhand for his career-high seventh goal.

"I think [Carter's] line has been scoring all the goals for us the past few games, so it's nice to chip in and get [Stoll's] line to chip in too," Lewis said. "Hopefully we can keep that going."

Stoll's goal came after Ovechkin had pulled Washington to 2-1 with his 34th goal, a one-timer off Evgeny Kuznetsov's pass during 4-on-4 play at 1:55 of the third. It was Ovechkin's first goal in six career games at Staples Center.

King tapped in Toffoli's rebound at the goal line at 9:03 of the second after his line pressured Washington. King has goals in three straight games. This one came just after Capitals coach Barry Trotz called timeout.

Trotz echoed his players' thoughts.

"I thought we didn't have enough urgency in our game," Trotz said. "I felt that I had too many people that weren't as urgent as they were ... they know how to win, and they got timely saves. We didn't have enough guys on their "A" games, that's for sure."

Holtby anchored Washington with 14 saves in the first period to keep the game scoreless. Quick did his part with eight saves, notably against Eric Fehr on a shorthanded bid in the first and on Nicklas Backstrom from the slot in the second after a Robyn Regehr giveaway.

Holtby, who was 4-1-1 in his previous six games, saw a lot of self-inflicted errors.

"We know we got beat by our own mistakes tonight," Holtby said. "They played well, but the goals we caused them, whether it was me or our team. You look at it that way. There's room for improvement to get a win."

Washington defenseman Steve Oleksy made his season debut.

The Kings have won five straight at home against the Capitals, who last won here Dec. 14, 2005.

Sutter passed Larry Robinson for fourth on the Kings' all-time coaching wins list at 123.

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