Gaborik’s two goals power Kings to third win in row
WASHINGTON — Los Angeles Kings fourth liners Jonny Brodzinski and Jussi Jokinen had combined for one goal entering Thursday night’s game against the Washington Capitals.
Then they scored one each in a nine-second span of the second period and the Kings defeated the Capitals 5-2 on Thursday night for their third straight win.
“It kind of changed the whole hockey game,” Jokinen said. “Being down 2-1 and then in nine seconds being up 3-2, obviously a big lift to our hockey team and we didn’t have to chase the game anymore. They had to chase the game.”
The Kings tied it after Holtby clearing attempt was stopped near the blue line by Kurtis MacDermid, who fired toward the net. His shot deflected off Brodzinski’s skate and past Holtby at 10:01.
Then off the ensuing faceoff, Trevor Lewis found Jokinen behind Washington rookie defenseman Madison Bowey, and Jokinen slid the puck between Holtby’s pads at 10:10.
“The read wasn’t the correct one at that time of the game and that happens,” Bowey said. “Obviously that stuff, I’ve got to get that out of my game and it definitely did end up costing us the game here.”
It was the 34-year-old Jokinen’s first goal of the season and it came on a special day.
“It’s my daughter’s birthday today, so she hasn’t seen her dad score a goal in a long time, so I finally get one on her birthday,” Jokinen said of his 6-year-old daughter, Sandra. “Feels good.”
Third-line winger Marian Gaborik scored his first two goals — including and empty netter — of the season and Jonathan Quick stopped 27 shots for the Kings (15-8-3). Tyler Toffoli added an empty-netter and MacDermid and Lewis had two assists each.
Gaborik was playing in his fourth game after missing 22 with an upper body injury.
“I think he’s been terrific,” Kings head coach John Stevens said. “I thought in a really heavy game tonight he played really hard, so it’s fitting he got a couple goals tonight.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice for the Capitals (14-11-1), who saw their three-game winning streak end as they opened a five-game homestand. Braden Holtby made 22 saves.
“It’s a game of mistakes and they capitalized on one more than we did,” said Capitals head coach Barry Trotz, referring to the 3-2 score before the empty-net goals. “But overall I thought we skated well.
“They didn’t beat us with their (Anze) Kopitars and their star power. Their fourth line got two goals. When that happens you’re gonna win most games.”
The Capitals broke on top at 4:04 of the first period after Dmitry Orlov stole a pass in the neutral zone. He fed Kuznetsov, who broke in alone on Quick and fired high to the stick side for his seventh goal of the season.
Los Angeles tied it midway through the period. Holtby made a nice save on Gaborik on a breakaway, but the rebound deflected off Washington’s Tyler Graovac and past Holtby.
Kuznetsov struck again just 1:23 into the second period. Racing down the left side, Kuznetsov stopped in the left circle, and after two defensemen and another Capitals player crossed in front of Quick, fired a shot that squeezed under Quick’s right arm to make 2-1.
It was Kuznetsov’s second two-goal game of the season.
After losing 7 of 8, the Kings will go for their fourth straight win Friday in St. Louis.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “Yeah, we’ve won a few games in a row, but we can still play better.”
NOTES: Kings G Jonathan Quick improved to 8-2-0 in his career vs. the Capitals. ... LA F Kurtis MacDermid notched his first two NHL assists in his 18th game. ... Washington D Dmitry Orlov’s assist gave him 100 career points. He has an assist in three of his past four games. ... Kings LW Marian Gaborik, who picked up his 400th assist on Tuesday, scored his 397th and 398th career goals on Thursday. ... The Kings’ record for the fastest two goals is six seconds, accomplished three times, most recently by Doug Bodger and Luc Robitaille at Anaheim on April 15, 1999. ... Capitals D Christian Djoos (upper body injury) returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games. ... The Capitals waived F Nathan Walker, who made his NHL debut on Oct. 7 and became the first Australian to reach the NHL.