NHL Hockey

Red-hot Kuznetsov has 4 points, Capitals beat Kings 6-4

(AP Photo/Al Drago)

By STEPHEN WHYNO

AP Hockey Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) Evgeny Kuznetsov is scoring, the Washington Capitals are winning and it feels like the playoffs in February.

Kuznetsov continued his hot streak with two goals and two assists, leading the Washington Capitals to a 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. The leading scorer in last year's playoffs has six goals and six assists in six games since the All-Star break, and the defending Stanley Cup champions went 4-1-1 on their longest homestand of the season.

Kuznetsov had just 10 points in his previous 18 games before getting on this roll.

"Even if things not going well, you have to work and not just hard work, you have to smart work and you just have to wait for your chance," Kuznetsov said. "When chances come up, you just have to execute."

Kuznetsov isn't the only one executing right now. Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 38th goal and had two assists and Brett Connolly, Christian Djoos and Jakub Vrana scored for the Capitals, who had their lines from the Cup Final put back together and produced all over the lineup.

"We played together before, so we have some chemistry," said Vrana, who scored his 17th goal. "It doesn't really matter who you play with. There is always some chemistry between each other here. Today we play like playoffs last year and important win."

The Capitals got the win and overcame a spate of three hooking penalties in 7:19 in the first period. They're tied for first in the league with 201 minor penalties - a problem that they hope to fix as they go on the road for the next six.

Players were happy leaving on a jet plane because of an offensive outburst and 29 saves from backup goaltender Pheonix Copley, who was making his second start in three games.

It was a rougher night for Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who allowed six goals on 31 shots behind some uneven defense.

"That team scores a lot of goals and they have a deadly power play," said Kings forward Austin Wagner, who scored twice. "We've got to try to stay off it next game, but we have to focus on the next game and take it into the next one."

Tyler Toffoli and Oscar Fantenberg also scored for Los Angeles, which went 3-2-1 on its six-game trip and remains eight points out of the final playoff spot in an unusually tight Western Conference race with many teams to pass.

"The challenging part probably isn't the points, it's the leapfrogging teams because everyone's playing each other," captain Dustin Brown said. "It's going to come down to a math problem. If we perform well, it still might just come down to a math problem."

NOTES: Djoos' goal was his first in 62 games dating to Dec. 30, 2017. He missed 24 games with compartment syndrome in his left leg before returning Saturday. ... Connolly has scored four goals in four games. ... The Kings traded C Nate Thompson and a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for a 2019 fourth-round pick. ... Wagner was put in the lineup only after the Thompson trade and registered his first career multi-goal game. ... Kings C Jeff Carter missed his third consecutive game with a lower-body injury. ... Kings F Trevor Lewis played for the first time since Nov. 13 after returning from a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

Kings: Return home to face the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

Capitals: Begin a season-high six-game trip Tuesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated February 11, 2019

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Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
Appalachian State 34 F
North Carolina 31
Ball State 23 F
NC State 34
NFL
Carolina   4:05pm
Arizona  
NHL
Carolina 2 F
Washington 3
Teams Score Time
Boston College 30 F
Rutgers 16
California 28 F
Ole Miss 20
Elon 7 F
Wake Forest 49
LSU 66 F
Vanderbilt 38
Michigan 14 F
Wisconsin 35
Southern Mississippi 7 F
Alabama 49
Tennessee 3 F
Florida 34
Western Michigan 33 F
Syracuse 52
Appalachian State 34 F
North Carolina 31
Auburn 28 F
Texas A&M 20
Louisville 24 F
Florida State 35
Miami (OH) 5 F
Ohio State 76
SMU 41 F
TCU 38
UCF 34 F
Pittsburgh 35
Washington 45 F
BYU 19
Central Michigan 12 F
Miami 17
Ball State 23 F
NC State 34
Old Dominion 17 F
Virginia 28
Oregon 21 F
Stanford 6
Charlotte 10 F
Clemson 52
Oklahoma State 30 F
Texas 36
Notre Dame 17 F
Georgia 23
Colorado 34 F
Arizona State 31
UCLA 67 F
Washington State 63
Teams Score Time
Interleague
Philadelphia 9 F
Cleveland 4
Philadelphia   6:37pm
Cleveland  
American League
Toronto 2 F
New York 7
Boston 4 F
Tampa Bay 5
Chicago 5 F
Detroit 3
Seattle 7 F
Baltimore 6
Kansas City 12 F
Minnesota 5
Los Angeles 8 F
Houston 4
Texas 3 F
Oakland 12
Seattle   1:05pm
Baltimore  
Toronto   1:05pm
New York  
Boston   1:10pm
Tampa Bay  
Chicago   1:10pm
Detroit  
Kansas City   2:10pm
Minnesota  
Los Angeles   2:10pm
Houston  
Texas   4:07pm
Oakland  
National League
St. Louis 9 F
Chicago 8
New York 2 F
Cincinnati 3
Washington 10 F
Miami 4
Pittsburgh 1 F
Milwaukee 10
San Francisco 1 F
Atlanta 8
Arizona 4 F
San Diego 2
Colorado 4 F
Los Angeles 2
New York   1:10pm
Cincinnati  
Washington   1:10pm
Miami  
San Francisco   1:20pm
Atlanta  
Pittsburgh   2:10pm
Milwaukee  
St. Louis   2:20pm
Chicago  
Arizona   4:10pm
San Diego  
Colorado   4:10pm
Los Angeles  
Teams Score Time
Atlanta   1:00pm
Indianapolis  
Baltimore   1:00pm
Kansas City  
Cincinnati   1:00pm
Buffalo  
Denver   1:00pm
Green Bay  
Detroit   1:00pm
Philadelphia  
Miami   1:00pm
Dallas  
New York   1:00pm
New England  
Oakland   1:00pm
Minnesota  
Carolina   4:05pm
Arizona  
New York   4:05pm
Tampa Bay  
Houston   4:25pm
Los Angeles  
New Orleans   4:25pm
Seattle  
Pittsburgh   4:25pm
San Francisco  
Los Angeles   8:20pm
Cleveland  
Chicago   Mon 8:15pm
Washington  
Teams Score Time
Pittsburgh 1 F
Columbus 3
Colorado 3 F
Minnesota 4
Carolina 2 F
Washington 3
New York 3 F
New Jersey 4
New York 1 F
Philadelphia 4
Toronto 3 F
Buffalo 5
Montreal 4 F
Ottawa 0
Florida 6 F
Dallas 0
Tampa Bay 4 F/OT
Nashville 5
Vegas 3 F
San Jose 1
Boston 2 F/OT
Chicago 3
Anaheim 3 F/SO
Arizona 4
Vancouver 5 F
Los Angeles 7
Columbus   3:30pm
St. Louis  
Pittsburgh   5:00pm
Detroit  
Minnesota   7:00pm
Colorado  
Calgary   8:00pm
Winnipeg  
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1 19 Martin Truex Jr 8
2 18 Kyle Busch 4
3 11 Denny Hamlin 6
4 2 Brad Keselowski 1
5 6 Ryan Newman 19
6 42 Kyle Larson 13
7 4 Kevin Harvick 2
8 14 Clint Bowyer 5
9 41 Daniel Suarez 14
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1 20 Christopher Bell 4
2 22 Austin Cindric 1
3 00 Cole Custer 12
4 7 Justin Allgaier 2
5 98 Chase Briscoe 5
6 18 Harrison Burton 6
7 9 Noah Gragson 8
8 8 Zane Smith 15
9 1 Michael Annett 10
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Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9