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Takeaways: Sandin, Capitals Recover For Big Push, But Fall To Kings

Rasmus Sandin had another strong game as he and Alex Ovechkin led a strong effort for the Washington Capitals. However, it wasn’t enough in a tough 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Here are all the takeaways.



It was the same story that had played out on Saturday, as the Washington Capitals recovered from an underwhelming start and showed promise and grit against a top Los Angeles Kings team with Rasmus Sandin and Alex Ovechkin leading the charge. However, it wasn't enough.

Despite a strong push and effort in the final 40, a third-period goal against sunk the Capitals in a 4-2 loss to the Kings.

Here are all the takeaways from the defeat, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Rasmus Sandin Leads Washington Capitals Rally After Another Slow Start, But Not Enough As Odd-Man Rush Leads To Loss

As was the case in San Jose, Washington didn't get off to the start it wanted in Los Angeles, as the team was heavily outshot 19-3 in the first period and failed to get much going in the offensive zone. It was Darcy Kuemper's heroics that kept things scoreless going into the second, and from then on, Sandin would lead the charge.

The Swede got his first goal with the Capitals on a great effort, where he picked up a pass from Sonny Milano and after going down, stayed with it before poking the puck past Pheonix Copley and making it a 1-0 game.

Sandin wasn't done there, though. With Washington trailing 2-1 and on a 5-on-3, he was quarterbacking the power play and found Alex Ovechkin in his office with a nice pass across. The rest was history as Ovechkin fired a one-timer past Copley to even the score.

With a goal and four assists in back-to-back games with his new club, Sandin hit a milestone as the first defenseman in franchise history to record five points in his first two games with the team. He also logged over 25 minutes of ice time. Not only was he strong offensively, but he made some impressive defensive play as well.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough in the loss as the team struggled to win neutral zone battles and get enough on net, managing just 22 shots on Copley. And the final goal against, courtesy of Mikey Anderson, came on an odd-man rush, a common theme in a rough season.

Alex Ovechkin Continues 'Gr8 Chase,' Darcy Kuemper Impresses Despite Loss

Ovechkin's power-play strike moved him to 816 career goals, and he is now just 79 away from breaking Wayne Gretzky's all-time record. The goal was also his 36th of the season and his fifth in as many games.

Not only that, but the 37-year-old has now scored on 169 different goaltenders after solving Copley, his former teammate. He also led his club with four shots on goal.

In addition to another impressive showing for Ovechkin, another player at the other end did what he could to keep his team in it.

After staving off Anze Kopitar and company in the first, Kuemper made several sharp stops to keep his team in it. Plus, the goals against were hard to put on him, as one came off a strange deflection in front. He finished the night with 37 saves on 40 shots (.925 save percentage).

Controversial Non-Call Takes Away From Washington Capitals Comeback Bid

With the goalie pulled and a chance to tie things up and force overtime, Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Capitals were working to keep the play alive in the offensive zone when Kuznetsov took a high stick to the face. He went down in visible pain, but there was a non-call on the ice.

After the incident, the referees met at center ice to discuss whether or not they'd award Washington the power play. However, since no one saw the play take place, and since non-calls like missed high sticks can't be replayed for review, the non-call stood. Head coach Peter Laviolette was fuming as the 6-on-4 could have meant more. Still, there were multiple chances at other points to capitalize, especially early on in a lackluster first.

Top Shelf Takes

– Nicklas Backstrom's assist on Ovechkin's goal was his first helper on a No. 8 tally this season. He has assisted on 279 Ovechkin goals, the fourth-most by a teammate in the history of the Show.

– Sonny Milano and Dylan Strome now have points in four of their last five games and continue to play off each other well.

– Trevor van Riemsdyk led all skaters with 25:33 minutes of ice time, a few more seconds than Sandin. He also had a team-leading three blocks.

– T.J. Oshie led with three hits.

– The Capitals now have a power-play goal 

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