Dave Taylor's third-period deflection of a Doug Halward slap shot, followed by Marcel Dionne's empty-net goal, gave Los Angeles a 5-3 victory tonight and ended domination of the Kings by the Washington Capitals and their veteran goalie, Wayne Stephenson.
It was the first time the Kings had beaten Washington in six games and was their first victory in the last 12 meetings with Stephenson, who had a 9-0-2 record against them over the last 5 1/2 seasons.
All five Los Angeles goals were produced by the Dionne-Taylor-Charlie Simmer line, which has collected 27 in just eight games. Taylor and Dionne added two assists to run his league-leading point total to 22.
Gord Lane, Paul Mulvey and Antero Lehtonen scored for the Capitals, each recording his first of the season. For Lehtonen, the Finnish winger playing only his second NHL game, it was the first score in North America.
The goals by Mulvey and Lehtonen came 49 seconds apart late in the second period and boosted Washington into a 3-2 lead. However, Simmer tied it before that period ended and Talor won it with a lucky deflection that skipped off his stick while he stood in the left-wing circle.
Dennis Maruk assisted on Lane's goal for his 100th point as a Capital. He became the first Washington player to reach that figure in fewer than 100 games, since this was only his 83rd.
The first period ended in a 1-1 tie, a rather remarkable situtation for the Capitals, who were forced to serve six penalties to the Kings' two. The Los Angeles goal was scored during one of two times Washington was short two players.
Adding to the Capital's unhappiness with referee Alf Lejeune was an early Los Angeles power play in which Washington's Robert Picard, headed up ice on a shorthanded breakaway, was hooked down by the Kings' Mark Hardy without a penalty.
Lane sent the Capitals ahead at 10:31 with a 50-foot blast from the right point that sailed past goalie Mario Lessard, screened by several players in front.
Mike Gartner then made a superb rink-length dash, cutting through three Kings to beat Lessard.But the puck hit the post and caromed back underneath the goalie.
When Hardy was chased for tripping Maruk, the Capitals were dreaming of a 2-0 lead. However, things suddenly backfired. Picard went off for holding and 22 seconds later Dennis Hextall left for slashing. Just as Hardy returned to the ice, giving Los Angeles a two-man advantage, Dionne deflected Butch Goring's drive from the point to tie the score.
The Capitals quickly returned to penalty trouble when Lane, who lost his stick, picked up the puck behind the Washington net and threw it into the stands. This time the Capitals survived a two-man shortage for 46 seconds.
Washington had the edge in play during the second period, but it ended with the teams deadlocked at 3-3. The capitals' goals were scored 49 seconds apart by Mulvey and Lehtonen.
Lessard was outstanding in the early minutes, making several fine saves, including a stop on a Gartner breakaway. The goalie, after falling to the ice, reached up and hit the puck with his glove. It rolled down his body and was knocked out of danger.
Taylor's eighth goal gave Los Angeles a 2-1 edge at 5:54. Dionne escaped Hextall and fed Taylor, whose drive deflected off Lane's stick over the right shoulder of goalie Wayne Stephenson.
Mulvey netted his first goal of the year at 14:43 on a setup by Gartner. The puck glanced off Lessard's chest and flipped over the goalie, producing a delayed reaction from both Mulvey and the goal judge.
Taylor went off for high sticking 12 seconds later and Lehtonen hit on the power play scoring on a rising shot from the left-wing circle.
Charlie Simmer's 10th goal, high in the NHL, pulled the Kings even with 2:12 left in the period. Maruk, trying to skate out of his zone, was bumped off the puck by Dionne and Simmer pounced on it and fired a 40-footer before Stephenson could react.
Washington was playing with make-shift lines in the absence of Rolf Edberg, Guy Charron and Bob Sirois, all out with injuries. Tony Cassolato was making his NHL debut, while Gartner and Leif Svensson, used at left wing with seven defensemen dressed, were returning from injuries.