The Caps defeated the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Tuesday in a game that pitted two of the NHL's best against one another. Here's the analysis:
How it happened: The Caps recovered from a sluggish start with a late second-period goal from Andre Burakovsky to tie the game at one. The game-winner came in the third from Evgeny Kuznetsov as, for once, someone fed him from behind the net instead of the other way around. Justin Williams took the puck from a scrum to Jonathan Quick's left and quickly fed it to Kuznetsov who was on Quick's right for the easy goal.
What it means: The Caps once again were able to avoid losing a second game in a row. Washington is the only team in the NHL to have not lost two consecutive games in regulation this season.
A happy return: Brooks Orpik was back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 10 and did not look out of place at all. He finished the game with 16:34 of ice time. He even contributed on offense as well, picking up a secondary assist on Burakovsky's game-tying tally in the second period, Orpik's third assist of the season.
Stuck in the middle: Burakovsky's goal saved what otherwise was a terrible second period for the Caps. The Kings managed a whopping 19 shots in the middle frame, but Philipp Grubauer did his best Braden Holtby impression as he turned aside every one of them to keep the Caps within striking distance. Despite their dominance, the Kings went back to the locker room with the game tied after Burakovsky scored with 49 seconds remaining in the period.
Dropping the gloves: Tom Wilson logged his fifth fight of the season as he dropped the gloves with Luke Schenn in the second period. Wilson gave Schenn a shot to the back that sent him into the legs of Jonathan Quick, knocking the Los Angeles netminder to the ice. Schenn took exception to the hit and immediately went after Wilson. Wilson picked up the extra two minutes for interference.
Powerless: The Caps looked as if they had put their power play woes behind them with a power play goal in each of their last three games, but the offense dried up with the extra man again on Tuesday night, as the Caps failed to convert. They went 0-for-5 on the night including 0-for-3 in the first period.
What's next: The Caps will practice at Kettler on Wednesday before heading to Brooklyn for a game Thursday against the Islanders. The interesting question will be just who the Caps will face in net. New York has won four of their last five games thanks in large part to goalie Thomas Greiss who has outplayed noted Caps foil and incumbent starter Jaroslav Halak of late. For the season, Greiss has allowed 2.16 goals per game with a .931 save percentage.