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Saturday, February 12, 2011
Kings: Third-period surge leads to 4-1 victory

By Dan Arritt

Kings 4, Washington Capitals 1

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: The Kings scored three goals in the third period to blow open a tight game at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., stretching their season-long point streak to eight games.

THE STAT: Wayne Simmonds was moved to the top line prior to the game and he responded by setting up the first and third goals for the Kings, both on drives to the net that created havoc in the crease and allowed easy put backs by Anze Kopitar and Michal Handzus. It was the first multi-assist game for Simmonds since January 2010.

TURNING POINT: With the score tied, 1-1, Kings defenseman Matt Greene made a perfect pass up ice to Kyle Clifford who uncorked a wrist shot. The puck rebounded out to fellow rookie Andrei Loktionov, who batted in the winning goal 3 minutes 36 seconds into the third period.

HOT: Kings back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier gave up a goal to Alex Ovechkin on Washington’s first shot of the game but then steadied and was finally awarded for a solid effort, stopping 22 shots for his sixth victory of the season. Bernier was the tough-luck loser in a 1-0 shootout loss Feb. 1 in Minnesota. Before that, he allowed two goals in each of his previous two starts.

NOT: The Capitals don’t come to play when the Kings are in town. They came in with a 1-7-2 record in their last 10 games when hosting Los Angeles.

GOOD MOVE: There was more eye-rolling when Kings coach Terry Murray juggled his scoring lines again, moving Handzus and Simmonds up to the top line and dropping Loktionov back to his natural center position. The trio combined for two goals and three assists.

BAD MOVE: The Kings didn’t have a power play until Mike Green was given two minutes for roughing Simmonds late in the second period. The man-advantage carried over to the third and seemed to give the Kings’ momentum for their three-goal outburst. Green was also a minus-three with a giveaway.

NOTABLE: Kopitar scored the first goal for the Kings, his first in 11 games and second since Dec. 26. Handzus scored his first goal in 12 games. At the halfway point of 10 straight road games, the Kings have earned eight of a possible 10 points.

UP NEXT: at Philadelphia, Sunday, noon PT.