CSI: Markkanen

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

The second period had Los Angeles crime scene written all over it.

But thanks to Juice and his bloody glove, as the Kings were referring to it afterward, the Edmonton Oilers got away with one last night at Rexall Place.

Outshot 16-4 while the Oilers collapsed in front of him, Jussi Markkanen averted the potential slaughter with a sensational display of netminding, much to the delight of 16,839 witnesses.

Or, as Johnnie Cochrane would have told the Kings: if you can't find twine, it's time to whine.

"I felt pretty good out there, I've been feeling good for a few weeks, in most of the practices," said Markkanen, after Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff beat the Kings 4-3.

"I was pretty confident to get in the game."

It was 1-1 after 20, but the game could have gone the other way for good with the pressure the Kings were putting on Edmonton in the middle period. The Oilers struggled with penalties, giveaways and looked rattled.

But Markkanen made a handful of scene stealers, including a leg save on Dustin Brown and a glove grab on Mike Cammalleri, to keep them in the game.

"I just tried to make it to the locker-room, I was pretty tired in the second there," grinned Markkanen, who limited the damage to two goals, giving Edmonton a chance to rally from the 3-2 deficit in the third period.

"Sometimes they have those shots, they have those power plays.

"In the third they didn't have much. You just try to hang in there."

Head coach Craig MacTavish wanted his guys to rally around Markkanen, who's been a caddy this year, with only 10 games before last night, and hadn't started since Dec. 30.

But in the end, they don't get the two points without his stellar effort, stopping 32 of 35 shots, many of them Grade A chances.

"I was saying for the last couple of days that the team had to step up and have a game for Jussi,"said MacTavish.

"But it was just the opposite - Jussi stepped up and had a game for us.

"I was really happy to see him come in and play really well.

"He needed to have a good game for us to win, we're not at the stage where we can win games with mediocre goaltending.

"It's going to have to be good for us to continue to win and he gave us that."

It was a popular victory all around.

"Jussi was great," said Shawn Horcoff.

"He's proven to us before, to the guys in this locker-room, that he can get the job done. We have the utmost confidence in Jussi."

LATE HIT: Horcoff now has 12 points in his last 11 games.


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