Brown, Ersberg help Kings down surging Capitals

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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

tonight."

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,"

Murray said.

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

saves.

"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

by Ovechkin.

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

victory.

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