Dustin Brown got the bulk of the attention after last night’s game, and rightfully so, given that Brown scored two huge shorthanded goals and played a highly effective all-around game. For those who have watched the Kings of late, though, it was no revelation. Brown had a goal in Game 1, and that followed up a very strong final quarter of the season. In his final 21 games, Brown had eight goals, 15 assists and a plus-12 rating. In his first 61 games, Brown had 14 goals, 17 assists and a plus-6 rating. Brown had an impactful Game 2, as he scored a shorthanded goal to put the Kings up 1-0, another shorthanded goal to make it 2-1, and then assisted on Jarret Stoll’s power-play goal (Brown initially got credit for that goal as well). Today, Brown tried to deflect as much of the credit away from him…
BROWN: “I think any players wants to be the difference-maker. I scored the goal on the first goal, but it was really Kopi who made the play. Then I found a way to capitalize on a mistake they made. It’s important for our leaders to be good and for our best players to be our best players. That’s kind of been the case in the first two games of the series, I think.’’
Teammates were more effusive with their praise of the team captain, as Drew Doughty, Jarret Stoll, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards offered thoughts, as well as Darryl Sutter. A couple of them noted Brown’s surge since the trade deadline. Brown heard his name mentioned in trade reports, but his game didn’t suffer. If anything, it took off.
DOUGHTY: “He’s been great. It seems like ever since after the trade deadline, he has been playing unbelievable. He’s scoring key goals at key times. Not only is he leading offensively, but he’s making big hits and he’s playing well defensively too. That’s exactly what we need from our captain, and that’s why Brownie does the job he does.’’
STOLL: “You can just see the determination coming out of him. Shift after shift, he goes. He’s all over the ice. Whether he’s on the ice, face-down on the ice, or he’s scoring goals or he’s hitting guys or he’s backchecking like he’s on a breakaway, he does everything. He kills penalties for us, obviously. He’s a big part of the power play. He’s out there in every situation. That’s what you want in a captain. You want a guy that, in big games like that, he’s doing those types of things. He’s not doing them every once in a while. He’s doing them on a regular basis.’’
KOPITAR: “He’s been playing great for us, the last 20 games of the season. He’s been putting points up on the board. He’s been great on the penalty kill. Obviously, last night getting two shorties was big for our team. That’s the kind of captain you want to have on your team, because he always leads by example and he’s always the hardest-working guy on the team.’’
RICHARDS: “He does everything. He not only leads by example in all areas, but he says the right thing a the right time in the dressing room. He’s always the most physical player. He scores huge goals for us. He steps up at times that he needs to. He’s everything that you would want in a leader, and more. … He doesn’t get credit for how well he plays defensively. How he reads the play is something that I think is under-appreciated. You just look at the goals and the shots he made, the patience he has with the puck and how well he reads the plays. I think that’s key for the shorthanded goals like he scored last night.’’
SUTTER: “I think he has a strong identity to his game. When he’s playing that power game, that straight-line game, he’s really effective.’’