By SAMMI SILBER
WASHINGTON (AP) — John Carlson scored the game-winner with 53 seconds left in regulation, and the Washington Capitals beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on Sunday.
The Capitals’ fourth line made all the difference in the win. Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a goal and two assists, Nic Dowd had a goal and an assist and Beck Malenstyn added an assist. Dylan Strome also scored for Washington, which ended a two-game slide.
“The fourth line was unbelievable all game, so credit to them. They got the ice time tonight, and they deserved it. Not only just did they get the goals, but they got the chances, too,” Strome said. “They were great defensively and not enough good things to say about them. They’re a really good line and hard to play against.”
Kevin Fiala scored twice and Adrian Kempe also had a goal for the Kings, who have lost five in a row.
“That’s not acceptable,” Fiala said. “We’re going to make sure next game we’re going to do everything we can to win. We just have to be better.”
Aube-Kubel tied the game at 3 with his fourth goal of the season at 8:36 of the third period. Then Carlson beat Cam Talbot from the point to put Washington up.
“I just tried to find one through there,” Carlson, who also had an assist, said of his game-winner. “I wasn’t really expecting to score, but I’ll take it all the time.”
After a game-opening goal from Dowd early in the second, Los Angeles tilted the ice heavily in their favor and outshot Washington 18-11 in the middle frame, going up 2-1 thanks to Kempe and Fiala.
In response to the Kings’ surge, Capitals coach Spencer Carbery changed the lines and put Alex Ovechkin, Strome and Max Pacioretty together. It paid off, as Strome tied the game, but Fiala restored the lead once again for L.A. on the power play at 1:01 of the third.
“Coming back to the bench after that penalty kill goal. … we’re kind of looking at each other like, ‘There’s no way we’re going to lose this game based off of that bounce,’” Dowd said. “I think we played too well, and we’ve had a long stretch and it’s been tough. We’ve lost guys to injuries, and guys are trying to find their game, whatever it is.”
Darcy Kuemper stopped 38 of 41 shots in the win. Pacioretty picked up an assist for his first point with the Capitals, and Ovechkin, who was a game-time decision, extended his point streak to five games.
Talbot, who earned his second All-Star nomination earlier in the week, stopped 30 of 34. Fiala scored for the third time in four games, and Kempe has six goals in as many games.
Kings: Make their second stop of a six-game road trip Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
Capitals: Host the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL