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 host 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 the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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 Barack 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 redirected 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.
President Barack Obama greeted the Los Angeles Kings and Galaxy at the White House on Monday to salute them for winning NHL and Major League Soccer titles, respectively, last year. But he saved his most lavish praise for former Maryland star and current Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers, the first openly gay male athlete to compete in a major U.S. professional sport. "I want to recognize what Robbie Rogers of the Galaxy has done for a lot of people by blazing a trail," the president said. "My guess is that, as an athlete, Robbie wants to win first and foremost. That's what competition is all about. But Robbie, you've also inspired a whole lot of folks here and around the world. And we are very proud of you." The president then turned and pointed to a smiling Rogers, standing among his teammates. Rogers called the recognition "a moment I'll cherish always." "I just wasn't expecting it," he said. "You don't consciously think of yourself as being a gay athlete. You just think of yourself as being part of the Galaxy, a team that's won championships. Obviously it was a difficult journey for me to come out and then come back to soccer. Just for someone that is so accomplished, that is so well-respected — and obviously he's our president — to single you out and acknowledge you and to kind of just congratulate you, I'll never forget it. And I've already texted my mom about it."
Cody could be subject to NFL discipline
The NFL will monitor the pending felony animal-cruelty and misdemeanor marijuana drug possession case against former Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody, according to league spokesman Greg Aiello. Cody was officially cut by the Ravens on Monday, the same day he was indicted on 15 criminal charges by a Baltimore County grand jury. That includes two felony charges of aggravated animal cruelty. Should Cody be signed by another NFL team, the 6-foot-4, 350-pound defensive lineman could face punishment from the league office in the form of a suspension or fine under its enhanced personal-conduct policy. "If another team signs him, he would be held accountable under the policy," Aiello told The Baltimore Sun in an email. "At this time, he is no longer employed by an NFL team." It could be a hard sell for Cody to land another NFL job considering the criminal case he's facing, his recent hip surgery and his lack of productivity on the field. Cody is free on $10,000 bail. No court date or arraignment have been assigned, according to Baltimore County court officials.
For more of Aaron Wilson's blog post on Cody, go to baltimoresun.com/ravensinsider.
Registration open for annual Brigance fundraiser
Former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance is holding his second annual 5K run in Canton on April 25. Registration for the Brigance Brigade Foundation 5.7-kilometer championship run and 1-mile family run-walk is open through his website at brigancebrigade.org. The run benefits research for and support of families dealing with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive motor neuron disease also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The Ravens' senior advisor to player development, Brigance was diagnosed with ALS in 2007. He won a Super Bowl with the Ravens after the 2000 season and won a Grey Cup championship with the Baltimore Stallions.
Game-worn Unitas jersey sells for $103,500 at auction
The game-worn Johnny Unitas jersey that was added at the last second to a Super Bowl-week auction in Phoenix sold for just over $103,500, according to Hunt Auctions. The Unitas jersey, dated to the 1967 Baltimore Colts season, was a family heirloom given to a local family by then-Colts equipment manager Fred Schubach at Memorial Stadium. The auctioneer said ahead of the event, which ended Monday, that Unitas' game-worn merchandise is rare, and that the expected range of the jersey was between $50,000 and $100,000. This particular item was made more valuable by a team repair on the front. Other high-fetching items at the auction included over $200,000 in memorabilia from former Ravens quarterback Randall Cunningham and a Jim Brown game-worn Cleveland Browns uniform, which sold for $57,500.
WNBA: The Washington Mystics exercised the fourth-year contract option on guard Tayler Hill and center Emma Meesseeman. The team also announced that guard Kalana Greene and forward Tierra Ruffin-Pratt would be re-signed for training camp and that forward Kayla Thornton will be added to the training camp roster.
Major Arena Soccer League: Washington College assistant men's soccer coach Jade Mesias was traded by the Harrisburg Heat to the Syracuse Silver Knights. Mesias has six goals and three assists in 13 games.
Men's college basketball: Bethany senior guard Delonte Joyce (Annapolis) was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III South Co-Player of the Week.
Women's college basketball: Maryland sophomore guard Lexie Brown was named ECAC Division I South Co-Player of the Week.
Men's college gymnastics: Navy senior Eric Viscardi was named ECAC Gymnast of the Week. Navy's Vadim Ivanov was named Freshman of the Week.