Jokinen pokes winner in for Kings

Curtis Zupke, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Hockey

WASHINGTON -- The stadium entertainment crew at Capital One Arena saw fit to play a pregame video mash-up of the film "La La Land" with the Los Angeles Kings making a rare visit.

The not-so-subtle jab made sense, given it was a virtual city of stars with the big names on display: Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals against Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick.

Then there was a rewrite and a call for a lesser-known name to emerge, and out came 34-year-old journeyman Jussi Jokinen, who scored the winning goal for the Kings in a 5-2 victory on his daughter Sandra's sixth birthday.

"She hasn't seen her dad score a goal in a long time, so I just wanted to get one on her birthday," Jokinen said. "It feels good."

In front of a crowd of 18,506, Jokinen sneaked behind the defense and slipped a backhand past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to give the Kings their second goal in nine seconds midway in the second quarter and a lead they would never lose. It was Jokinen's first goal since March, when he was with the Florida Panthers before he was bought out and traded to the Kings.

Marian Gaborik, 35, also scored his first goal since March, on a breakaway bounce in the first period, and later added an empty-net goal. Rookie defenseman Kurtis MacDermid recorded the first multi-point game of his career with two assists, and Trevor Lewis also had two assists.


Ovechkin and Backstrom? Each was held scoreless with a minus-2 rating, guarded largely by Doughty and Kopitar. Doughty said he came out fine from a knee-on-knee collision with Tom Wilson.

"I've never been so tired in my whole entire life," Doughty said. "I felt like I spent the entire game in my own zone playing against that Ovechkin line. But it was a great battle. All four lines, all six D, Quickie played great. It was just a full team effort."

Quick denied Evgeny Kuznetsov's bid for a hat trick and stretched out to stop a Christian Djoos shot in the third period. Doughty knelt down and hugged Quick after the latter save.

"I can't even say what I said to him," Doughty said. "I think I swore a couple times."


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