Final score: Capitals 5, Kings 0.
How it happened: Lars Eller finished a deft pass from Brett Connolly to stake the Caps to a 1-0 lead just a few minutes in, then Marcus Johansson’s 16th goal of the season put the Caps in control late in the first period.
Second period snipes from Connolly and T.J. Oshie extended the home team’s lead to 4-0, and backup goalie Philipp Grubauer took it from there.
What it means: The NHL-leading Caps are awfully good. The Kings came to Chinatown riding a five-game winning streak that included three shutouts. Brett Connolly and Co. hung five on them. Peter Budaj and his buds hadn’t given up five goals in 13 games. Budaj, by the way, only lasted 40 minutes, becoming the sixth goalie the Caps have chased in calendar year 2017.
Capitals goal: Eller’s goal opened the scoring at 3:16. The play began with Connolly threading a pass from the corner through Jeff Carter’s legs and right onto Eller’s tape. Eller, all alone in front of Budaj, deked the Kings goalie and kissed his shot off the goal post and in. Slick pass and a slicker move by Eller in front. Capitals 1, Kings 0.
Capitals goal: Johansson’s 16th goal of season (but just his second in 18 games) put the Caps ahead 2-0 late in the first. Evengy Kuznetsov carried the puck into the zone with speed and dished to the trailing Johansson, who sniped a shot over Budaj’s blocker. The Kings goalie was distracted by Justin Williams, who had just cut through the crease, and Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin, who provided the perfect screen. Capitals 2, Kings 0.
Capitals goal: Wilson picked up a neutral zone turnover, raced into the Kings’ zone and fed the puck to Connolly, who outskated Anze Kopitar to the net and then beat Budaj. Capitals 3, Kings 0.
Capitals goal: Oshie put the game away late in the second period with a one-time that shattered Budaj’s water bottle. Oshie has six goals in his last nine games. As Ovechkin is fond of saying, “Google it.” If you haven’t seen Sunday’s snipe, it’s worth looking up. Capitals 4, Kings 0.
Capitals goal: Williams completed the scoring late in the third period, finishing a pass from Johansson. Williams now has 18 goals on the season. It was his first goal in five games. Capitals 5, Kings 0.
1- Connolly. The third line winger had a goal and an assist. The goal was his 10th of the season—one more than he produced in 71 games with the Bruins a year ago.
2- Eller. The two-way centerman now has five goals in his last 10 games.
3- Grubauer. Made a season-high 38 saves to post his third shutout of the season.
Look ahead: Sunday’s game opened a four-game home stand that precedes the Caps’ six-day bye week. The home stand continues to Tuesday against the Hurricanes, Thursday against Red Wings and Saturday against the Ducks.
Tell us what you think: Alex Ovechkin was given a golden stick during a brief ceremony prior to the game to commemorate his 1,000th career point. How many points will the Caps’ captain have (ballpark figure) have when he retires? Remember, you need 1,591 to crack the top-10 all time.
MORE CAPITALS: Oshie destroys Budaj's water bottle