Capitals finally healthy and look to show it against Kings
The Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals have been playing better of late, but both are coming off tough overtime losses on Saturday, with each trying to stop a brief skid when they meet in Washington on Monday night.
The Kings won three in a row before falling to Boston 5-4 in overtime Saturday afternoon. Los Angeles was down 4-2 but rallied to force overtime before the Bruins pulled out the victory.
Still, the Kings came away with a point, and that's something coach Willie Desjardins liked.
"In the end, it was a good point," Desjardins said. "The guys battled back. We could've been better at the start of the third, but the thing I've liked about this group is that they don't give up, and it was good to see them turn around and get a couple (goals) and end up with one point."
The Kings received goals from Oscar Fantenberg, Alex Iafallo, Anze Kopitar and Nate Thompson in the loss. Goalie Jonathan Quick finished with 28 saves.
On the injury front, the Kings announced Saturday that they've activated forward Trevor Lewis from the injured reserve list. He's been in 17 games this year but had missed 37 due to a lower-body injury.
This will be the final leg of a six-game road trip for the Kings, who last played at home Jan. 21 before their All-Star break began. For Washington, Monday will be the last game of a six-game homestand that started Feb. 1 ween their break ended.
The Capitals have won three of the previous five on the homestand, their most recent game being a 5-4 overtime loss to Florida on Saturday. Too many minor penalties have hurt Washington all season, and that happened again against the Panthers.
Brett Connolly already had two goals and one assist but took a slashing penalty with 3.6 seconds left in regulation. That gave the Panthers, and their formidable power play, the extra man heading into overtime. There, Mike Hoffman delivered the game-winning goal.
"I can't take that penalty," Connolly said afterward. "It's tough. It's an important time of the game, and just one of those plays where we battle back, and it's one of those plays that's a tough position. You can't take that penalty."
At the start of NHL play on Sunday, the Capitals led the league with 197 minor penalties. It is an area that coach Todd Reirden has constantly harped on improving. Washington was tied for fourth with 41 power play goals allowed.
The Washington defense did get a boost Saturday with the return on Christian Djoos, who has been out since Dec. 11. He underwent a procedure for a thigh issue and played 11 minutes Saturday.
Saturday's contest was Washington's 55th this season, but it was the first time that Reirden had his entire lineup available. Injuries and suspensions have taken a toll.
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby played in his 400th NHL game Saturday and needs one more win to reach 20 victories in a season for the seventh time in his career.
--Field Level Media
Updated February 10, 2019