WASHINGTON — All things being equal, Teddy Purcell would have liked a phone call telling him he was traded from the Kings to the Lightning rather than hearing it on television.
But no hard feelings, Purcell said.
"It would have happened either way," he said Thursday of the deadline deal that sent C Jeff Halpern to Los Angeles for Purcell and a 2010 draft choice.
"Either way I was going to get traded, so it doesn't really matter. It's just kind of a funny story, I guess."
And exciting for the wing, 24, who gets a do-over after "hitting a wall" with the Kings and being scratched in 18 of his previous 22 games.
Purcell, who had three goals and six points in 41 games with the Kings but just one point, a goal, in his last 26, started against the Capitals on a line with C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Ryan Malone.
In 14:44 of ice time he had two shots and blocked three. And though he was minus-2, he earned praise.
"Teddy was pretty good tonight," coach Rick Tocchet said. "I think there's something there."
"You could tell he's a smart player," Lecavalier said. "We had some very good sequences tonight."
On one, Purcell could not convert Lecavalier's perfect setup in front of the net.
"Great pass to my stick, and I got some good wood on it, but it just hit the D man's stick," Purcell said. "The rebound came back to me, but I didn't get enough on it. I have to find a way to bear down more, because I'm going to be getting a lot more of those."
But back to the Kings' dressing room in Nashville, where Wednesday after practice Purcell and his teammates watched trade deadline coverage on Canada's TSN, an ESPN equivalent.
"We're all sitting around watching it," Purcell said. " 'Halpern going to L.A.' At first we thought it was going to be for a draft pick. Then, two minutes later, 'More news on the Halpern trade. Teddy Purcell is going the other way.' "
MESZAROS HURT: He missed only 21/2 minutes of the second period after getting hit with a shot, but D Andrej Meszaros limped badly in the locker room after the game and had a huge welt on his right foot.
TIGHT GROUP: When Halpern, after he was dealt, said the Lightning locker room was the best of his career, it made C Zenon Konopka smile.
"It's amazing that he said that, and I do take that as a compliment," Konopka said. "We worked hard on this group. … We're in a much better place as a dressing room."
Konopka said the trade of his friend created a void: "He always had his stamp of approval with what went on here. To not have that is tough."
ODDS AND ENDS: A 15-game point streak for C Steven Stamkos is tied for the league's longest current with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. … Lecavalier had his second two-goal game of the season, his first since Dec. 15 at Nashville. His third power-play goal was his first since Jan. 18. … Tampa Bay has lost seven straight at the Verizon Center. … D Matt Walker (lower body) skated but was scratched. … RW Brandon Bochenski was scratched.