By John Reger
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) — After losing two consecutive games, Los
Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray decided on a line change.
Apparently, it worked.
Captain Dustin Brown scored a power-play goal and added an
assist and Erik Ersberg made 19 saves as the Kings claimed a 5-2
victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
Patrick O’Sullivan, who was moved to the first line alongside
Brown and Anze Kopitar, also tallied and rookie defenseman Drew
Doughty opened the scoring with his third goal.
“It is definitely a different look with Sully,” Brown said. “He
brings a lot of speed and he can really shoot the puck. He is
also a really good passer. He can really get up the ice and
make plays happen. He’s a good player, and it obviously worked
Murray was very happy with the play of the new line combination.
“They played against a (Nicklas) Backstrom line, and their
responsibility tonight was to go in with a checking mind set and
to make sure to try and limit the opportunities that a guy like
(Alex) Ovechkin is going to get, and we did that tonight,”
Ersberg, who was making his seventh consecutive start after
beginning the campaign as Los Angeles’ backup goaltender, made
11 of his saves in the third period as the Capitals were dealt
their first regulation loss since November 1.
“They have a great team, one of the top teams in the East,”
Ersberg said. “Especially after two losses, it feels great to
bounce back against a team like them. It was a huge game for
us. You are going to lose two games in a row in a season, but
you don’t want to lose three.”
Washington posted a 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday
but looked weary in the first period of this one, registering
just three shots on goal despite having two power plays.
“You can surmise the reason we lost any way you want to,”
Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think they were more
emotionally into the game. I don’t think you can do what we did
and win. When you can’t get a shot (at) even strength, you
aren’t working hard enough.”
Doughty scored the first goal of the game with 6:02 remaining in
the opening period, when he received a cross-ice pass from Brown
and fired a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle.
The puck inadvertently was tipped by Washington superstar
Ovechkin over the glove of netminder Brent Johnson, who made 28
“It was pretty much all Brownie,” Doughty said. “He did all the
work and then found me, and I just tried to get the puck to the
net as quick as I could. I got a lucky deflection, and it was
great to get the team going.”
The Kings’ luck at killing power plays ended in the second
period. Less than a minute after enforcer Raitis Ivanans and
rookie Oscar Moller were whistled for penalties at 3:54 of the
session, the Capitals evened the contest as Backstrom received a
pass from Viktor Kozlov and stuffed the puck into the net while
standing at the right goalpost.
Los Angeles regained the lead with 95 seconds remaining in the
period, when O’Sullivan became the beneficiary of a rare mistake
The reigning Hart Trophy winner, Ovechkin was lining up a shot
in the offensive zone when the puck hopped over his stick.
Defenseman Matt Greene grabbed the loose puck and dished it to a
streaking O’Sullivan, whose wrist shot from the right circle
went between the legs of Johnson for a 2-1 edge.
“They moved faster than us,” Ovechkin said. “They shoot
everything. We didn’t create our chances at the net. The first
period was everything. Second period, we played good, but then
they scored the second goal. There was a lot of snow and the
puck was bouncing.”
The Kings seemingly sealed the win when Brown tallied with 6:06
left in the third, cashing in on a power-play chance after
Ovechkin was called for interference. Blue-liner Kyle Quincey
picked up the puck in the defensive end and carried it down the
right wing before putting a pass onto the stick of Brown, who
tapped it past Johnson from the doorstep.
“(Brown) didn’t see me. I just went to the net and he turned
around and we hit,” Ovechkin said of his penalty. “I didn’t
want to hit him, I just wanted to go to the net.”
Brook Laich tallied with 4:34 remaining to pull the Capitals
within one, but Kopitar and Michal Handzus, who also notched an
assist, scored empty-net goals in the final minute to clinch the