Kings lowercase the Capitals

Michal Handzus #26 of the Los Angeles Kings scores the go-ahead goal in the third period against the Washington Capitals at Staples Center on January 2, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Mike Zampelli/

Game 42: Kings 2, Capitals 1

If the Kings' win over Minnesota was a character win, then their hard-fought victory against the Washington Capitals was a statement game. The statement? "We have arrived, and we can compete against anyone in the league."

From the outset, the Kings were a team focused, quickly running up an 11-4 shot differential on the Caps. And they limited the amount of open looks the two-time defending Hart Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin got at Jonny Quick. Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar kept Ovie in check most of the game when they shared the ice. And the frustration was starting to become apparent the longer the game went.

Ryan Smyth scored his second goal in as many days, a power play goal which caught backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth off-guard. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty got the assists. Doughty was a monster Saturday, leading all skaters in ice-time, topping Ovechkin by one second. He was played liberally on the power play and penalty kill, and led the Kings  with his ice time played even strength. He was even able to draw a penalty on Ovie, which helped the Kings establish themselves so quickly in the first.

Then, as fast as that, the Kings came out in the second period and stunk up the joint. The Caps crawled back into the game, surpassing the Kings with a 13-shot barrage at Quick. Fortunately, the Caps only came away with one power play goal from Mike Green. The momentum had clearly shifted to the Southeast Division leaders heading into the third.

From left, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick (32), defenseman Matt Greene (2) celebrate their win over the Washington Capitals at the end of the third period of a NHL hockey game, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010, in Los Angeles. The Kings won 2-1. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)Things got grimmer for L.A., when Ryan Smyth got the hook for "boarding" Shaone Morrisonn. Two things: that boarding call looked more like a lame elbowing effort by Smyth, He totally missed Morrisonn. And two: Shaone Morrisonn needs to fix his name. It's like the nurse were he was born had too much coffee when she entered in his name in the computer and punched in a bunch of extra letters. Sell a few of those letters back to Pat Sajak.

But the Kings got a huge short-handed goal from Michal Handzus to lift the Kings 2-1. The backup Neuvirth could only hang his head in the bask of the red shamelight of Staples as the Slovakian Scrapper scored his 16th shorty of his career.

But the Kings were far from out of the woods, as they found themselves down two men halfway through the third period, when Jack Johnson was called for crosschecking and Sean O'Donnell hit the puck out of bounds trying to kill off JMFJ's penalty. That left Handzus, Rob Scuderi and Matt Greene to try and protect the lead. Greene apparently has no fear of getting hit in the face again, as he was basically sprawled out on the ice on all fours, waiting to catch the puck with his mouth.

Jonny Quick came up huge several times, as Alexander Ovechkin basically set up shop in the crease, waiting for a pass or a rebound to smack in. And every time there was a mad scramble in front of the goal, Quick pounced on the puck quicker than a lion on a frail gazelle. (Wait, what? Sorry, I'm watching the Discovery Channel right now.)

The Kings were successful in thwarting the Caps power play, and L.A.'s PK was successful four out of five times on Saturday. And as time ran out, the Kings all huddled around Quick for some well-deserved kudos. Quick earned the top star of the game and rightfully so. The Kings can add another feather to their cap this season with a well-fought game against one of the East's best teams and the league's reigning MVP.

Next up is the Sharks on Monday for the first of three games in January. Let's see if the Kings can continue their strong play against San Jose, as they have beat them two out of three times so far.

• AP: Michal Handzus leads Kings past Capitals, 2-1
Quick kept the Kings in the game in the one-sided second period when the Capitals outshot Los Angeles 13-2. He made two tough saves on Ovechkin in less than a minute, flicking out his right leg at the last instant to thwart a tricky 25-foot wrist shot with 9 1/2 minutes left, then stopping another wrist shot from point-blank range.
• Kings thrive under pressure
Simply and collectively, the Kings decided they would not let even the NHL's most prolific team overrun them and impede their progress toward a future they're sure holds a playoff spot.
• Kings hold off Caps
Ovechkin had a game-high seven shots on goal but was rarely a threat. That’s a credit to Quick, who made one brilliant save on Ovechkin, in particular, in the third period; to Doughty, who (while paired with Rob Scuderi) largely kept Ovechkin under wraps; and to Richardson, who absorbed a hit from Ovechkin and made a game-winning play.
• Quick shines in Kings' win over Caps
''They are one of the best offenses in the league, so we knew they would come hard,'' said Quick, who has started all but four of the Kings' 42 games. ''Our penalty kill was unbelievable, and Handzus came up with a huge shorthanded goal. We know we have a good team, so I don't think we felt enormous pressure.''
They said it
"Thank God for Quick here today. He played outstanding in the second period and had lots of pressure back at him again late in the third period. It was a much needed two points, a real character win and I think it all goes to Jonathan Quick here today." – Terry Murray, on two consecutive quality wins.
“I don’t know if I’d say that. I think I had two saves there,where I didn’t see the puck. I was extemely fortunate that the puck hitme. Sometimes you have to be lucky to be good. We’ll take the win andmove on to San Jose on Monday.” – Jonathon Quick, on his ability to track the puck in traffic.
"We had an awful second period. That was pretty clear. We didn’t have much going, but we came in here and talked it out. Coach came in and settled us down, and we had a pretty solid third period." – Brad Richardson, on rallying from a poor second period.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 2: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates on the ice prior to the game against the Los Angeles Kings on January 2, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/NHLI via Getty Images)
Around the Kingdom

• Kings bust a Cap at Staples
The Kings came out full of piss and vinegar.  They hit everything thatwore white and red, number 8 included. In fact, kudos to the fan whobrought the sign “our number 8 is better than your number 8″ to thegame.
• Anthony's Arena Analysts: Supressin OvechkiN' Kings Vs Capitals
All those crazy Capitals fans from before humbly picked up their gear and started the walk of shame up the stairs. Greeted by waves goodbye and middle fingers by some of the not so generous Kings fans, lol. An awesome game and great event in general to be at.
• Frozen Royalty: Quick, Richardson Lead LA Kings To 2-1 Win Over Ovechkin, Capitals
The Caps poured it on in the third period, outshooting the Kings, 10-5 in the period. But after taking a big hit from Ovechkin behind the Washington net with the Caps on the power play, Richardson managed to stay on his feet while the Capitals stood around in amazement. Meanwhile, Richardson got the puck and passed to Handzus, who was all alone in front and he scored his ninth goal of the season shorthanded at the 2:50 mark.
• MayorsManor: Kings-Caps has Olympic Feel
To show the difference in the make up of the two teams, Alexander Ovechkin led all skaters with seven shots. The Kings didn't have a player with more than three. You may recall back in training camp Coach Murray stressed the Kings need to have a shot mentality this year to be successful. Today, Jonathan Quick - yep, another Olympian - helped lift the team to victory.
• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Black Magic Helps Kings Defeat Capitals 2-1
Following a rough first season with the Kings, Richardson has rebounded to become an integral part of the winning season. "I kind of had a weird ankle injury last year." Richardson said following the game. "You keep working and keep your mouth shut. Eventually you’re going to get some breaks."
Across the aisle, the Washington viewpoint

• The Washington Post's Capitals Insider: Kings 2, Caps 1
Alex Ovechkin liked how the Caps bounced back from a miserable first period. What he didn't like was how the Kings still managed to take control of the game anyway.
• Recap Kings 2, Caps 1
From the 12:25 mark of the first period on, the Caps out-shot the Kings 24-9. L.A. netminder (and U.S. Olympian) Jonathan Quick was good, but the refs' whistles lived up to the Kings goalie's name more than he did.
• The Peerless Prognosticator: A NO-point night: Kings 2 - Caps 1
The Kings played this one as if it was a road game – deliberate, strong on the boards, few chances taken. In other words, they outworked the Caps for much of the game. And the Caps really do have to find ways to win games like this. They are fine at the 5-3 win, but not so much at the 3-2 variety (the sort they needed today).
• Russian Machine Never Breaks: Capitals Fall Hard to Kings 2-1, Lose Third Straight
The Russian Machine doesn’t have much to say about the Capitals 2-1 loss the Los Angeles Kings today. It was crap. In fact, we felt this photo of Mike Green pretty much summed it up.
• Beninati: Caps Lose 3 Straight
The Kings power play goal was another in a long list of examples for why Ryan Smith is so good in front of the goal. He wades into those high traffic areas without any fear, he gets good body position then he is an expert at finishing rebounds or deflections.
Peeping the dailies

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="Kings clip Caps">Video: Kings clip Caps</a>

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