Kings Coach Pat Quinn ripped his team for playing poor defense after the Boston Bruins scored two fluke goals in the third period to tie the Kings, 3-3, Thursday night.
But the Kings looked a lot better on defense Saturday night, knocking off the Washington Capitals, 5-2, before a crowd of 14,109 at the Forum.
It was the first time that the Kings had beaten Washington in two years, a six-game (0-5-1) winless streak. The Capitals swept the three-game series from the Kings last season and beat the Kings twice earlier this season.
Leading 5-1, the Kings gave up a power-play goal with 6:33 when Dave Christian scored his 24th goal of the season to cut the Kings' lead to three goals.
The win moved the Kings (25-22-10) within three points of the third-place Winnipeg Jets in the Smythe Division.
Washington (35-16-8), which has the second-best record in the league behind the Edmonton Oilers, has a five-point lead over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Patrick Division.
The Capitals are one of the best defensive teams in the National Hockey League. They beat the Kings, 6-1, last Friday in Landover. Md., and 5-3 last October.
But the Kings outskated Washington in the first period en route to a 3-0 lead.
Captain Terry Ruskowski put the Kings ahead, 1-0, with 15:38 left in the first period when he scored off a pass from Bernie Nicholls. Right wing Jim Fox set up the play when he got a loose puck in the corner and passed it to Nicholls.
Just seven seconds after Washington left wing Gaetan Duchesne was penalized two minutes for interference, the Kings scored a power-play goal to make it 2-0 with 13:42 left.
Marcel Dionne won a faceoff and gave the puck to Nicholls, who fed left wing Brian MacLellan for his 23rd goal of the season.
It was Dionne's 852nd career assist, moving him into a fourth-place tie with Bobby Clarke on the all-time NHL list.
Gordie Howe is the all-time NHL assist leader with 1,049, followed by Stan Mikita (926) and Phil Esposito (873).
Dave Taylor scored the Kings' final goal of the first period with six minutes left when he put a shot through the legs of Capitals goalie Pat Riggin.
Kings goalie Bob Janecyk played well in the first period, making 11 saves.
Janecyk was involved in an altercation with Washington left wing Greg Adams with 3:48 left in the first period. Adams, who was standing in front of the net, took a swipe at Janecyk's head and Janecyk threw a punch at him.
The Capitals had a goal disallowed with 16 seconds left in the first period when Bob Carpenter kicked the puck into the net.
The Kings, who opened the second period two men short, scored a short-handed goal just 34 seconds into the period to go ahead, 4-0.
Mark Hardy, scored his 10th goal of the season just after coming out of the penalty box. Dionne and Craig Redmond had the assists.
The Capitals dominated the second period, outshooting the Kings, 16-6, but they could come up with only one goal, and that came when the puck took a lucky bounce.
Washington scored with 6:18 left in the period when left wing Alan Haworth got his 17th goal of the season on a rebound of a shot by Dave Christian.
Janecyk blocked Christian's shot, but Haworth's rebound shot hit the post and bounced over Janecyk, who was lying in the crease, and into the net.
There was a melee in front of the penalty box with eight seconds left in the second period, involving Nicholls and Doug Jarvis of the Capitals. Both were penalized two minutes for roughing.
However, after officials had separated Nicholls and Jarvis, another fight broke out between Hardy and Washington right wing Bob Gould. Hardy landed several solid punches to Gould's upper body before they were pulled apart. Hardy and Gould were penalized five minutes apiece for fighting.
Kings center Doug Smith, who had missed 13 games with a knee injury suffered on Jan. 16 in a game against Toronto, returned to the lineup Saturday night. . . . The Kings open a four-game trip Tuesday night against the Quebec Nordiques. . . . The Capitals will take a bus to San Diego today to begin a three-day mini vacation.