INGLEWOOD, FEB. 25 -- After 130 minutes and six seconds of shutout play, Washington Capitals goalie Clint Malarchuk finally allowed a goal . . . and another . . . and another . . . and another.
But Coach Bryan Murray hardly was blaming Malarchuk for Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, ending the Capitals' six game winning streak, including two consecutive shutouts with Malarchuk guarding the net.
"I don't think we were fair to him," Murray said. "He made some pretty good stops early and it was just a matter of us giving up too many opportunities. There was really nobody helping Malarchuk."
One player who worked to undermine the Capitals success was Craig Laughlin who spent 5 1/2 seasons in a Capitals' uniform before the Feb. 9 trade that sent him to the Kings. Laughlin eagerly provided his new teammates with a scouting report.
"We had a spy in here tonight, and he sure helped us out a lot," said Kings Coach Robbie Ftorek. "Craig gave us a lot of scoops that were beneficial to us in our preparation for them."
With the insider information, two goals each from Luc Robitaille and Mike Allison and the tough defense of goalie Rollie Melanson and the penalty-killing unit, which was successful in thwarting all five of the Capitals power-play situations, the Kings avenged 10-3 and 8-3 losses they endured in previous games against Washington.
"When you get embarrassed like we did, it's not a very comfortable feeling in your stomach," said Melanson, who stopped 31 shots. "I think mentally the guys knew what we had to do."
The Kings opened quickly, scoring a power-play goal at 2:36 of the first period, ending Malarchuk's scoreless streak. Allison scored the goal with a 10-foot wrist shot 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 power-play opportunities before finally connecting with an even-strength goal at 17:25 by Dale Hunter, who whipped a shot between Melanson's pads from the left face-off circle. That tied the score at 1 after the first period.
"I think we gave them a little too much respect," said Washington defenseman Rod Langway. "They capitalized on their first rush down the ice and we were in the hole from there."
The Capitals, who lead the league in goals against, could not stop Los Angeles in the second period, and the Kings, with the league's worse record in goals against, kept Washington from making big scores.
Los Angeles owned the second period by outscoring the Capitals, 3-1. The first of the Kings' goals came on a two-on-one advantage at 4:23 with Robitaille scoring on a five-foot shot on the left side.
Robitaille scored again at 9:58 on a fluke goal after a shot from 50 feet out deflected off him as he was checked to the ice.
Less than two minutes later Allison scored his second goal, taking a lead pass from 50 feet out and beating Malarchuk with a 15-footer on the glove side. With that goal, Murray substituted Pete Peeters for Malarchuk after he gave up four goals on 17 shots.
"I put Peeters in to get him some work and change the momentum in the hockey game if I could and I think that happened to some extent," Murray said.
After the switch, 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 rallied late in the third, scoring on Lou Franceschetti's 30-foot slap shot with 4:41 to play. But the Capitals failed to tie the game and Melanson made several crucial stops.
Now, the Capitals come back to play their Patrick Division rivals, starting Saturday night against the New York Islanders in Uniondale. Going into the game, the Capitals trail the first-place Philadelphia Flyers by five points and the second-place Islanders by three.
Rangers 2, Penguins 1:
Walt Poddubny and Ulf Dahlen each had a goal and an assist to lead host New York to a victory over Pittsburgh.
The win moved the Rangers within one point of the Penguins and New Jersey Devils, tied for fourth place in the Patrick Division.
Sabres 5, Blues 2:
Rookie Ray Sheppard scored two power-play goals, leading Buffalo to a victory over visiting St. Louis.
Bruins 5, Whalers 2:
Michael Thelven and Randy Burridge each scored two goals to lead host Boston to a victory over Hartford.
Islanders 1, Blackhawks 1:
Alan Kerr converted the second rebound of Ken Leiter's shot with 2:34 left in regulation, helping host New York stretch its unbeaten streak to seven games with a tie.