Brouwer’s 2 goals lift Capitals past Kings 4-0
WASHINGTON (AP) — No matter what happened in his 500th NHL game, Troy Brouwer was going to mark the occasion by having dinner with his wife and teammates.
As it turned out, the real celebration took place long before they got to the restaurant.
Brouwer scored two goals, Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots and the Washington Capitals beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-0 Tuesday night for their second win in eight games.
Brouwer staked Washington to a 2-0 lead with a goal in each of the first two periods. It was his first multigoal game of the season and only the third with multiple points.
“It’s going to be a memorable game for me, to be able to have a good win against the defending Stanley Cup champions and to be able to take control of the game from the beginning,” Brouwer said. “Smiles all around, which is what I’ll remember about my 500th game.”
Selected 204th overall in the 2004 draft by Chicago, Brouwer never dreamed of playing that many games.
“To be a late-round draft pick, not many expectations out of myself, I was happy with (playing) one,” he said. “But it’s been a long good career for myself. Hopefully there’s many more years to come.”
The Capitals were 1-4-2 in their previous seven outings, allowing at least four goals in five of those games. Their only win in that span was a 4-0 thumping of Pittsburgh.
After Brouwer put Washington in command, Nicklas Backstrom made it 3-0 at 5:50 of the third period following a Los Angeles turnover. Less than a minute later, Eric Fehr converted another Kings miscue into a 4-0 advantage.
“We haven’t been playing well. We’ve been turning the puck over,” L.A. defenseman Matt Greene said. “It’s only uncharacteristic for so long until it becomes routine. That’s the way we’ve been playing lately, especially on the road. We’ve got to find a way to stop that right now.”
Jonathan Quick had 23 saves for the Kings, 1-6-2 on the road since Dec. 11. Los Angeles is 21-17-12 overall after opening the season 6-1-1.
“It’s gut-check time,” Greene said. “It’s a sprint to the end and we’ve got to gain ground here.”
The Kings rarely tested Holtby, who had only a few saves better than ordinary in his sixth shutout of the season and career-high 24th victory.
It was a lackluster effort from the reigning champions, who one day earlier were honored by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House.
“We’re a good team but it’s hard to win when you don’t play with enough emotion,” Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown said. “We need everyone to be invested in the game emotionally. From there we can work on the X’s and O’s. But the emotion has got to be there.”
The Capitals outshot Los Angeles 12-6 in the first period and got the lone goal at 17:11, by Brouwer off a centering pass from Evgeny Kuznetsov.
In the second period, Quick denied a point-blank shot by Brouwer with Washington on the power play. Minutes later, however, Brouwer re-directed a slap shot by Mike Green into the net for a power-play goal at 16:36.
Brouwer’s 15 goals rank fourth on the team behind Alex Ovechkin (31), Fehr and Backstrom (16 each). He finished with a team-high five shots, a rare occasion when Ovechkin didn’t lead in that category.
“Troy’s been a pretty solid player,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “I think he, just like any player, will go through dry periods and sometimes he’ll get hot. He had lots of jump.”
Brouwer’s performance was exactly what the Capitals needed to shake their slump, and it ensured a lively crowd at the dinner afterward.
“The wife did all the arranging,” he said. “We’ll see who likes me and shows up.”
There seemed to be little doubt as to who would be picking up the check.
“It will probably be me after tonight,” Brouwer said.
NOTES: It was the first time since 1998 that Los Angeles lost in regulation in Washington. The Kings were 7-0-2 in that span. ... Trotz shook up his lines, scratching LW Jason Chimera and C Michael Latta. Chimera hadn’t missed a game since Dec. 27. ... The teams conclude the home-and-home series on Valentine’s Day. ... Green checked Kyle Clifford over the boards and into the Capitals’ bench in the third period.