Suddenly, life on the road is more pleasant for the Washington Capitals.

The Patrick Division cellar-dwellers made it three straight without a loss (2-0-1) on this trip with a 5-2 victory tonight over the skidding Los Angeles Kings as a crowd of 7,204 booed at the Forum.

Ryan Walter scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season and Bob Sirois added a goal and an assist as the Caps overcame 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to record their 15th victory of the season.

Los Angeles now is 2-13-2 in its last 17 starts.

Los Angeles, the second-highest scoring team in the National Hockey League, dominated the first half of the opening period.

The Kings scored first, defenseman Rob Palmer beating Cap goalie Wayne Stephenson with a low liner from the right boards at 5:44. It was his fourth goal of the season.

The Caps finally got their offense going midway through the period on their second power play, with Jay Wells off for holding at 13:16.

First, Bob Sirois had an excellent scoring chance, skating around the L.A. net and attempting to stuff the puck through goalie Ron Grahame's pads. Then Rolf Edberg, standing alone at the blue line, blasted a shot that Grahame barely deflected with his stick.

The Caps tied the score at 1-1 with 53 seconds remaining, just 48 seconds ater Bengt Gustafsson missed a penalty shot. Ryan Walter got the goal with an assist from Mike Gartner, who fanned on a 30-footer but regained control and passed to the open Walter skating in from the right side.

Gustafsson was awarded a penalty shot with 1:41 left after he was tripped from behind by Randy Manery. He skated straight down the middle, faked right, then tried to pick the left-hand corner. Grahame made the save with his right leg.

The penalty shot was Gustafsson's second of the season. He missed on the first, too, against Minnesota's Gilles Meloche. Only 10 days ago, Edberg scored on a penalty shot against the New York Rangers' Doug Soetaert.

The Caps are 1-4 in penalty shots this season, 4-9 since the team was formed.

The Caps' offensive momentum carried into the second period although Charlie Simmer scored his 37th goal of the season at 5:17 to give Los Angeles a 2-1 advantage.

The Caps closed out the period with three straight goals to take a 4-2 lead, outshooting the Kings by a 15-3 margin.

Washington has enjoyed great success on the power play against Los Angeles this year, converting four of six entering this game, and that is how they scored their first two of the period. Eight minutes and 36 seconds into the period, a double penalty against Los Angeles gave the Caps a two-man advantage. Andre St. Laurent was whistled off the high sticking Tim Coulis along the boards and Palmer was penalized for hooking Mike Kaszycki in front of the L.A. net after the Cap wing had taken a centering pass.