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Too much Alex Ovechkin dooms Kings in loss to Capitals – Daily News

LOS ANGELES — Alex Ovechkin can shoot the puck about as hard as anyone in the NHL. His prowess in that regard was on full display Monday night when his defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals took on the host Kings.

Ovechkin, who leads the league in goals, scored two power-play goals to lead the Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Kings before 18,230 at Staples Center.

Ovechkin scored his 41st at 11:48 of the first period and his 42nd at 5:27 of the second. In between came a goal from teammate Brett Connolly that was scored at 12:08 of the first, just 20 seconds after Ovechkin gave his team a 1-0 lead.

The Kings got goals from Alex Iafallo at 8:20 of the third period and from Ilya Kovalchuk at 19:32, but they could not get the game-tying goal and suffered their fifth consecutive loss.

The Kings are 23-30-6 (52 points) and remain eight points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Capitals are 33-20-7 (73 points) and solidified their hold on second place in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference.

Jack Campbell started in goal for the Kings for the second consecutive game because Jonathan Quick, though feeling better, was still a bit under the weather. Campbell made 18 saves, but he couldn’t stop Ovechkin, who both times scored from the left face-off circle. His first goal was shot about as hard as a puck can be shot.

But Campbell wasn’t using that as an excuse.

“You know, he’s a pretty good player and he can shoot the pill,” Campbell said. “But I expect myself to save that. That’s my job. It’s my job to make that save on the power play and he beat me and I’m not happy about it, so I’ve gotta be better.”

Kings interim coach Willie Desjardins was impressed with Ovechkin.

“He is hard,” Desjardins said. “He shoots the puck well and if he hits it right, it’s going to go in. He got all of it a couple of times and he made good shots.”

The Capitals had just the two power-play opportunities.

“Obviously, 2 for 2 is a pretty good result,” said Ovechkin, who has scored at least 50 goals seven times with a career-best of 65 in 2007-08.

The Kings, who were 0 for 3 on the power play, started well and had some good scoring opportunities before the Capitals struck. But they could not get one past goalie Pheonix Copley, who stopped 26 shots.

The situation was exacerbated when Washington scored those first two goals in back-to-back fashion.

“Yeah, obviously, it’s very deflating,” Kings captain Anze Kopitar said. “It’s something that’s been ongoing this season. I mean, we’re getting scored on in bunches and that’s certainly not the recipe for success.”

Desjardins agreed the wind was kind of taken out of his team’s sails in that first period.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I thought we did start well and I thought we played pretty good throughout the game. But they have a good power play. They just capitalized on two power plays and that was the difference.

“And then they got the tip. We had stuff going to the net. We could have had our tips, we just didn’t get them tonight.”

Connolly’s goal for a 2-0 Capitals lead was off a deflection.

“Obviously, on the road, it’s nice to get up a couple early and not be chasing the game,” said Connolly, whose goal was his 14th of the season. “That’s when it’s really hard, especially on a back-to-back.”

Washington was coming off a 5-2 loss to the Ducks on Sunday at Anaheim.

Now the Kings again hit the road for four games, starting Thursday at Nashville. With time running out – the Kings have 23 games remaining – Kopitar was asked how his team will attack the problem.

“One game at a time, and win games,” he said. “That’s it.”

The goals by Iafallo and Kovalchuk were the 13th of the season for both players. With an assist on Iafallo’s goal, Dustin Brown earned his 600th career point.

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