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Monday, January 9, 2012
Kings: Two more goals gives L.A. 4-1 lead

By Dan Arritt

After the 2nd period:

Kings 4, Washington Capitals 1

The good: The Kings didn’t sit back and try to protect their one-goal lead entering the second period. Instead, they kept prodding away at the Capitals and were awarded with two more goals. The fourth line came through again on the third, set up by a nice read by winger Kyle Clifford and defenseman Jack Johnson about three minutes into the period. Clifford, who scored the game’s first goal, found himself quarterbacking a 2-on-1 breakaway with Andrei Loktionov to his left. Loktionov was on the line because fourth-line center Colin Fraser was still serving a five-minute fighting penalty from late in the first period. Clifford slowed up with the puck at the right faceoff circle and spotted Johnson trailing the play. He slid it to the young blue liner, who picked the right side and shot it past Washington goalie Tomas Vokoun for a 3-1 lead. Trent Hunter received his second assist of the game on the play as well. Dustin Penner, likely still receiving some ribbing in the locker room for his back injury during breakfast Saturday morning that forced him to sit out that day’s 1-0 loss against Columbus, set up the fourth goal when he teamed with Mike Richards to steal the puck from Capitals defenseman John Carlson. Penner took the puck to the net, where his initial shot was saved by Vokoun, as well as a follow up by Richards, but Jarret Stoll skated into the commotion and flipped the puck into the net for a three-goal lead with 3:33 left in the period. Nobody’s probably happier than Kings back-up goalie Jonathan Bernier, who has been the beneficiary of just 11 goals by the Kings in his previous seven starts. Now if the Kings can just get their power play untracked. They’ll have the man advantage the first 1:15 of the third period to do so.

The bad: While the score was still 3-1, Stoll and Johnson couldn’t deliver on a couple prime scoring chances. Hopefully, those won’t come back to haunt the Kings in the third.

The in between: The Blue Jackets and Kings combined for 14 power plays Saturday, two days after the Coyotes and Kings combined for just two. The referees seem to have swallowed their whistles again, calling just two minor penalties thus far.