The Kings headed into Wednesday night’s game with some big momentum on their side as they found themselves in the midst of a 5-game winning streak. Looking to keep things going against a competitive Capitals team that sits in 3rd place in the Metropolitan Division, the team got out to a solid start. Arthur Kaliyev scored his 5th on the season to give Los Angeles the 1-0 lead. The Capitals were able to find the answer later in the period, as they tied the score at 1 on a goal from Anthony Mantha.
Washington would once again find the net in the second period as Connor McMichael scored his 5th on the season to give the Capitals a 2-1 lead. Despite a dramatic third period in which the Kings had many shots at the net (including a goal that was reversed via coaches’ challenge), they were unable to break even and fell short in the end. It was the team’s first loss since November 11, bringing their record at home to 4-4-3 on the year.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Kings get shut down despite frequent shot attempts
In the third period, the Kings definitely had their fair share (and then some) of opportunities to try and even the score. They finished the contest with a total of 39 shots, which was comfortably more than double the total put up by the Capitals (only 15 shots all game). The Washington goaltender, Charlie Lindgren, displayed a very impressive effort as he kept shots out of the net through a chaotic final period of play.
Things got especially dicey as it appeared that Los Angeles had scored the game-tying goal on a shot from Anze Kopitar. Unfortunately for the Kings, Washington used their challenge and successfully overturned the call to an offsides. Overall it was a frustrating loss, and Los Angeles will certainly move onward with the feeling that they played the better game despite getting the short end of the stick.
4-plus goal streak ends for Los Angeles
As of recently, the Kings’ attack has been very successful and continues to serve as a main component of their victories. Coming into the game against Washington, they had scored four or more goals in each of their last four games, dating back to November 18 in a game against the St. Louis Blues. In total, Los Angeles has scored less than four in only seven of their 19 games so far this season. This mark was good enough to match the 1992-1993 L.A. Kings as the last Kings’ team to have as many four-plus goal outings in their first 19 games of a season. The team has been scoring at a historic rate, with the 1992-1993 Kings also being the last Kings team to score at least 76 goals through their first 19 games to start a season until now. However, the Capitals were able to put a lid on Los Angeles behind their pesky defense and kept the team to just 1 goal on the day. Washington held the Kings scoreless through the final 2 periods of the game and brought their record on the road to a solid 4-2-1. Hopefully for Los Angeles, the game will just serve as a brief cooldown before things start to heat up once again.
Kopitar unable to gather history-making assist
Captain Anze Kopitar has been on a roll for the Kings in their last five games, with five points in that time frame. In one of those games against the Anaheim Ducks on November 24th, he tallied his 287th career assist to tie Marcel Donne as the Kings’ all-time assist leader. Since then, he has been one assist away from standing alone as the player with the most assists in franchise history. In the team’s last game against the Canadiens (a 4-0 victory), he was unable to gather the assist. With another chance on Wednesday night, he once again was unable to reach the mark, with the Kings scoring just once all game long thanks to some gritty goalie play from the Capitals.
Kopitar will another opportunity to surpass Donne in the Kings’ next game on Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche. It will be an opportunity for revenge, as Colorado took the first meeting between the two squads earlier this season via a 5-2 victory on October 11.
The game is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. PT.