Los Angeles Kings\' Anze Kopitar, left, of Slovenia, celebrates his goal with Michal Handzus, top right, of Slovakia, and Dustin Brown (23) against the Washington Capitals during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009, in Washington. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Nick Wass)
WASHINGTON - Alex Ovechkin was in no mood to celebrate his 200th NHL goal.
A baseball cap pulled down over his eyes after his Washington Capitals lost to the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 Thursday night, the usually exuberant Ovechkin instead wanted to discuss what he and coach Bruce Boudreau both described as a lacklustre performance that ended Washington's three-game winning streak.
"We didn't play well for two periods, and they just used our mistakes," Ovechkin said, his voice a low monotone. "I don't want to talk about my personal stats today."
Anze Kopitar's two goals and assist helped the Kings recover after allowing Washington's Alexander Semin to score only 15 seconds in. Los Angeles went on to win for the fifth time in six games.
"The first period wasn't pretty, but the second period was downright ugly," Boudreau said, adding moments later: "They've beaten us twice and we're a better team than them."
The Southeast Division-leading Capitals entered the night second in the Eastern Conference, while the Kings came in two points out of last place in the West.
Plus, Washington was 21-3-1 at home, and was backed by a sellout crowd of 18,277.
"Maybe we were giving them too much respect in the beginning," Kopitar said. "But after we picked up our game, I think we played pretty good."
It was, after all, the Kings who took leads of 3-1 and 5-3 and held on. And it was the Kings who scored on a 5-on-3 power play and added a short-handed goal.
Washington has allowed a power-play goal in 13 consecutive games, and a short-handed goal in two straight.
"I don't know what's happening with us, but after (Semin's) goal, we just stopped playing," Ovechkin said. "Didn't play our system. We didn't finish checks. We didn't shoot the puck. We didn't play our game."
Los Angeles was one of only two opponents - San Jose is the other - against whom he never had scored.
But Ovechkin scored unassisted with about 9 1/2 minutes left, pulling Washington within 4-3. It was Ovechkin's league-high 37th goal this season and made him one of four NHL players to reach 200 career goals in four seasons, joining Wayne Gretzky, Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux.
Kyle Calder scored with 1:33 left to give the Kings a 5-3 lead. Brooks Laich scored for Washington with 1:06 remaining to make it a one-goal game again, but the Kings held on.
"Very exciting there at the end of the game," Kings coach Terry Murray said.
Jonathan Quick withstood quite a barrage in the third period: The Capitals took 22 shots, only one fewer than in the first two periods combined.
"In the third period, I thought we had a little more energy than them," Boudreau said.
The second period featured three goals in a span of 1 1/2 minutes.
Kopitar broke a 1-1 tie with a goal 13 seconds into the period. Up against the boards, Alexander Frolov sent the puck ahead to Kopitar, who shot it over Jose Theodore's right shoulder for his second of the game and 14th this season. Los Angeles made it 3-1 less than a minute later with its short-handed goal, when Theodore made a sprawling save on Frolov off a breakaway, but Michal Handzus knocked in the rebound.
And 41 seconds later, Mike Green scored his 17th goal of the season - most among NHL defencemen - on a power play. That also gave Green a goal in five consecutive games, a record for a Capitals defenceman.
About 7 1/2 minutes into the second period, though, the Kings were back ahead by two, when Kopitar assisted on Patrick O'Sullivan's breakaway goal to make it 4-2.
"How many times did we lose the puck trying to be too cute at the blue-line?" Boudreau said. "That part is unacceptable."
Notes: Capitals G Brent Johnson will have hip surgery next week and is expected to miss up to two months. Johnson's absence leaves the Capitals without an experienced goalie to back up Theodore. ... Capitals captain Chris Clark had surgery on his right wrist Thursday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season.