LOS ANGELES, FEB. 24 -- After a three day hiatus strolling around the sunny greens of La Quinta Country Club, chasing little white balls with clubs rather than sticks, the Washington Capitals stepped into the more familiar, but less satisfying environment of a skating rink as the Los Angeles Kings glided to a 4-3 victory.
The loss ends a six-game winning streak including two consecutive shut-outs.
Los Angeles dominated most of the game with persistent pressure on defense and an opportunistic offense. The Capitals made somewhat of a comeback in the third period and threatened to tie the game in the ending minutes but Los Angeles' defense denied the last minute surge beating Washington for the first time this season.
Although the Capitals lead the league in goals-against, the Kings scored easily in the first two periods. Conversely, Los Angeles with the league's worse goals-against record frustrated the Capitals' offense.The Kings opened quickly, scoring a powerplay goal at 2:36 of the first period ending goalie Clint Malarchuk's scoreless streak at 130 minutes six seconds over a span of four games.
Los Angeles' center Mike Allison wristed a 10-footer past Malarchuk on the stick-side after taking a sharp pass across the slot from rightwinger Jim Fox, who lured the goalie out of position.
The Capitals missed two powerplay opportunities before finally connecting with an even-strength goal at the 17:25 mark when Dale Hunter whipped a shot between the pads of goalie Roland Melanson from the left face-off circle. The score was tied at the end of the period.
But Los Angeles owned the second period, outscoring the Capitals 3-1. The first of the Kings' goals came on a two-on-one break at 4:28 with left winger Luc Robitaille chipping in a five foot shot on the left side of the net.
Robitaille scored again on a fluke goal after a shot from 50-feet deflected off him while being checked to the ice at 9:58 giving the Kings a 3-1 advantage.
Less than two minutes later, Allison netted his second goal of the evening at 11:16, taking a lead pass and wristing a 15-footer beating Malarchuk on the wrist side.
That was the end for Malarchuk. He had given up four goals on 17 shots. Capitals Coach Bryan Murray pulled Malarchuk and substituted Pete Peeters.
At 18:04 Washington scored its only goal of the period when former King, Grant Ledyard hit a 50-foot slap shot from the point to beat Melanson on the glove side making the score 4-2 going into the third.
The Capitals drew within 4-3 with 4:41 to play when Lou Franceschetti scored his third goal of the year. But Los Angeles goalie Melanson preserved the victory, stopping Mike Gartner's shot from the slot with 3:43 to play. Washington 1 1 1 3 Los Angeles 1 3 0 4
FIRST PERIOD SCORING -- 1, Los Angeles, Allison 12 (Fox, Laughlin), 2:36 (pp). 2, Washington, Hunter 18 (Gould, Stevens), 17:25. PENALTIES -- Hunter, Was (cross-checking), 2:13; Nicholls, LA (hooking), 11:26; Robitaille, LA (hooking), 14:10; Sykes, LA (hooking), 19:44.
SECOND PERIOD SCORING -- 3, Los Angeles, Robitaille 38 (Carpenter), 4:38. 4, Los Angeles, Robitaille 39 (Duchesne, Laughlin), 9:58. 5, Los Angeles, Allison 13 (Playfair, Duchesne), 11:16. 6, Washington, Ledyard 3 (Gartner), 18:04. PENALTIES -- Hunter, Was (holding), 1:37; Playfair, LA (interference), 5:59.
THIRD PERIOD SCORING -- 7, Washington, Franceschetti 3 (Sundstrom), 15:19. PENALTIES -- Kennedy, LA (high-sticking), 10:40; Hunter, Was (roughing), 10:57; Sykes, LA (roughing), 10:57.
Shots on goal: Washington 8 11 15 34 Los Angeles 8 11 7 26
Power-play Opportunities -- Washington 0 of 5; Los Angeles 1 of 2.
Goalies -- Washington, Malarchuk (17 shots-13 saves), Peeters (6:51 second period, 9-9). Los Angeles, Melanson (26-23).
A -- 9,620.
Referee -- Mike Noeth. Linesmen -- Ryan Bozak, Bob Hodges.