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game recap

Grubauer guides Capitals past Kings

Washington goalie makes 39 saves; Kuznetsov scores

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

Kuznetsov's go-ahead goal

LAK@WSH: Kuznetsov buries go-ahead goal in 3rd

2/16/16: Evgeny Kuznetsov stuffs home the feed at the side of the net to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead late in the 3rd period

  • 01:00 •

WASHINGTON -- Philipp Grubauer rebounded from a poor start last week by making 39 saves for the Washington Capitals in a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings at Verizon Center on Tuesday.

"It was a transition for me this year, getting back-to-back games and maybe not seeing as many pucks," Grubauer said. "I need to develop some consistency in my game and that was a good start."

The 24-year-old hadn't started since a 5-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Feb. 2. He last played Saturday after Braden Holtby was pulled after two periods in a 4-3 loss at the Dallas Stars.

"[Grubauer] has been good all year," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "I don't have any doubts with what he could do and that's why he got this game."

Video: LAK@WSH: Grubauer robs Nolan's chance in the 3rd

Forwards Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jason Chimera scored for the Capitals (41-10-4), who have not lost consecutive games in regulation this season.

"I thought gradually, throughout the game, we got better, because we had to," Capitals forward Justin Williams said. "They got the better of the play. They were outshooting us, outplaying us, outbattling us. Slowly, in the third period, we started to take things over, and things started to move a bit in our direction. You know, we said it on the bench: We were getting stronger and they were fading a bit."

Forward Anze Kopitar scored a shorthanded goal, and Jonathan Quick made 29 saves for the Kings in his return from a lower-body injury that caused him to miss three games. Los Angeles (33-20-3) is 2-3-0 on its seven-game road trip.

"The goalies made some big saves," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. "We couldn't get that second one. But we had lots of good opportunities. The last five minutes you were just trusting the guys that you have on the ice, and we probably got caught with some inexperience on the back end on that last goal."

Video: LAK@WSH: Chimera secures the win with empty-net goal

Kopitar scored at 16:43 of the first period to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. He skated from the blue line and scored a sharp-angle goal on Grubauer's stick side.

"This is a group that's been together for a long time and knows how to win," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "We've got to bear down on our chances. That's the difference tonight. We had some really good looks, and they've got to go in the back of the net for us, especially when we have a 1-0 goal. If we can find a way to get that next goal, that game is probably a lot different. They kind of poured it on in the third and as a result they got the goals they needed."

Burakovsky tied it 1-1 with 49 seconds remaining in the second period when he deflected defenseman Dmitry Orlov's pass for his 12th of the season. Burakovsky has 16 points in his past 14 games and a point in 12 of his past 14.

"I was just trying to crash the net and obviously it was a sick pass from Orlov and he just hit my stick," Burakovsky said. "The only thing I had to do was hold my stick on the ice."

Video: LAK@WSH: Quick gets across to stone Ovechkin

Kuznetsov scored with 2:02 remaining in the third period to make it 2-1. Williams sent a behind-the-net pass to him at the goal mouth for his 16th goal of the season and first since Jan. 14.

"If you listen to Justin on the bench, what he says to his linemates and the guys on the bench, he finds a way to pull people into the fight and he does it by example," Trotz said. "He finds a way to get things done and that's his talent."

Chimera made it 3-1 with an empty-net goal with 8.6 seconds remaining.

Video: LAK@WSH: Doughty's defense leads to shorthanded goal

"We're in the situation where we need to find points," Brown said. "There's definitely areas we can improve on, so that's something we need to focus on in practice tomorrow is those things. They're not huge adjustments we need to make, but it's the little things this time of year that are hugely important."

Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik played his first game since Nov. 10. He missed 40 games with a lower-body injury. Orpik had a secondary assist on Burakovsky's second-period goal; he has four points this season.

"Past the first couple of shifts, it was just getting used to the speed again," Oprik said. "It was pretty good. Obviously, a really good opponent to come back against, so that wasn't easy, but it's good."

Video: Kuznetsov, Grubauer lead Capitals past Kings

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