Kevin Hatcher and Bob Gould scored 14 seconds apart in the second period to break a 2-2 tie tonight and lead the Washington Capitals to their fifth straight NHL victory, 5-4, over the Los Angeles Kings.
Gould scored twice to enable the Capitals to begin a five-game road trip on a winning note. But the Kings battled them all the way in a highly physical contest, and only a dislodged net with 11 seconds left averted a tie.
With goalie Darren Eliot lifted for a sixth skater, the Kings swarmed in the Washington end. Marcel Dionne intercepted a Darren Veitch pass and fired it into the net, but it was off its moorings, and the apparent goal did not count.
The Capitals outplayed Los Angeles in the first period, but managed only a 1-1 tie on Gould's fifth goal of the season.
Len Hachborn scored on the Kings' first shot, at 3:02 of the first period. It was his first point in five games since Los Angeles acquired him from Philadelphia earlier this month.
Washington Coach Bryan Murray, annoyed with the way the Kings were outplaying his team physically in the early minutes, sent out a line of Lou Franceschetti, Ed Kastelic and Gould after Hachborn's goal, and the move paid off.
Franceschetti checked Los Angeles defenseman Mark Hardy into the boards behind the Kings' goal, lifted the puck and fed Gould for a shot past Eliot at 3:54.
The second period was a shooter's paradise, as Washington scored four goals and Los Angeles two. It was a high percentage, since each team took only nine shots.
A carryover penalty to the Kings' Dean Kennedy gave the Capitals their first power-play chance, and Dave Christian converted it at the 42-second mark. It was Christian's 17th goal and 11th on the power play.
Hachborn's second goal tied it at 3:40. The puck was knocked away from Los Angeles' Morris Lukowich in the Washington end and went right onto Hachborn's stick in the right-wing circle.
The Capitals scored two goals 14 seconds apart to grab a 4-2 lead. Hatcher kept the puck in at the right point, skated into the slot and flipped a 35-foot backhander past Eliot, who was screened by Kennedy, at 8:18.
Before the Kings had recovered from that one, Gould stole the puck from Anders Hakansson in the Los Angeles end and fired it past a startled Eliot at 8:32.
Just 27 seconds later, the Kings got one goal back. Tiger Williams, left alone at the right post, easily converted a goalmouth pass from Bernie Nicholls for his ninth goal.
Laughlin, in his familiar spot in the trenches in front of the net, was struck in the leg by a Scott Stevens slap shot, and the puck trickled past Eliot at 14:53 to give Washington some breathing space.
Early in the third period, Williams and Mike Gartner squared off in a spirited fight that ended with Gartner lying atop the NHL's all-time penalty leader. Each was banished for seven minutes when the high-sticking penalties that incited the battle were added.
Another battle broke out with 6:14 remaining when Kastelic knocked Los Angeles defenseman Jay Wells into Eliot. Wells is one of the NHL's best fighters, but Kastelic held his own before they finally were separated and sentenced to seven minutes each.
Nicholls took a pass from Grant Ledyard and lifted the puck over Jensen with 5:05 left to make it 5-4.