Chances are that you don’t remember what you were doing on January 31, 2010.
Dustin Brown, on the other hand, has a pretty good recollection of the events that took place at the Prudential Center that afternoon.
“The one game that I remember in that streak was in Jersey,” he said.
The Kings, come-from-behind winners in a shootout the night before in Boston, won their sixth consecutive game amidst what would become a nine-game winning streak, the longest in team history. It lasted from January 21 to February 6, 2010. The win over the Devils was decided as Wayne Simmonds and Drew Doughty scored in the final 1:46 – with Doughty’s game winner coming on the power play with 28 seconds remaining – to erase what at one point was multi-goal deficit.
“We were down two-nothing, and I think ‘Zus scored a goal late in the second, and we scored a goal with a minute left, and then Dewey scored with like 10 seconds left,” Brown recalled. “So we pulled a game out where we didn’t play very well and got two late goals to win. I think that was game five in the winning streak, maybe game six. I don’t know. Everyone talks about the streak, and that was the one game I remember playing in. And partly because how we won.”
The Kings, who will look to equal that streak when they play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, have a more recent run of play to equate their current run to. The New Jersey Devils again played a significant part.
“I think it’s similar,” Doughty said when asked whether the current run was reminiscent of the team’s play late in the 2011-12 season. “We kind of went through a bad spell where we weren’t playing well, we weren’t playing well as a team, and then we turned it on at the end of the year. Right now, we’ve obviously turned it on, but we’ve still got a long ways to go before playoffs start. You really want to be going in on a good note going into playoffs. You want to be on a winning streak, so I do see the similarities.”
Eight games into the streak, it does appear the Kings are playing their best regular season hockey since March 11-22, 2012, when the Kings won six consecutive games – five of which were against teams that qualified for the playoffs that season.
“I think our team is just as good, if not better, than that team we had back then,” Doughty said. “I think we have a good shot if we get a good spot in playoffs. I don’t think too many teams will want to play us in the first, second, third round.”
Dustin Brown, on similarities between the 2011-12 team and this Kings team:
I think at the end of the day, minus maybe two players from that team and adding a couple new players, it’s the same team. It’s just finding that rhythm. Everyone talks about 2012 and how good we were, I think we just hit our stride at the right time. I mean we’re playing good hockey right now. I think we have another level to go, though. [Reporter: How do you reach that next level? Is it just a matter of getting closer to the playoffs?] I think so. I think winning – it’s kind of hard to put this into words – but after winning, after playing in playoffs, as professionals you know how important these two point games are…it’s just a different game. So it’s kind of building up, trying to build up towards that, but at the sime time you’ve got to take care of business. It’s just not the same atmosphere or the same intensity for both teams going in. But once you get to the playoffs, it becomes a new game. I think it’s about getting all our X’s and O’s, and the intensity and the emotion – that stuff comes with the territory of playoff hockey.
Brown, on not giving up many overtime or shootout points during the current streak:
You guys notice that stuff more than we do, I think. Especially three point games in the west are pretty common, I think.
Brown, on returning to the team refreshed after the Olympics:
I think it was good for everyone, whether you played in the Olympics or not. We were kind of going through a tough stretch and a tough schedule at the time, and we found a big win against Columbus, and I think that’s the underrated win. How you go into a break can be just as important as how you go out of a break, and I think we were really struggling as a group, and we found a way to win a game going into the break, and that kind of gives you that good feeling going in. I think that helps. If we lose that game, then you’re thinking about it. We had been losing…nine [of 10]. I mean, we lose that game, then you’re thinking in your head. Whereas you win, you kind of go into break in a good way. You maybe stop thinking about the game for a couple weeks…It’s just the grind of the season. You get away from hockey for whatever, seven, 10 days for some guys, I think kind of refreshed them.
Drew Doughty, on why this Kings team could be “better” than the 2011-12 Kings:
I think we just have some new additions. Guys are older, guys have experience now. I think just overall we’re just a better team. We’re closer off the ice. On the ice, our partners are set, are lines are kind of set, we’re gelling at the right time. I think the experience has the biggest thing to do with it. We’ve experienced three rounds of the playoffs for the last two years, and we know what to do. We know what to expect.
Doughty, on facing Jonathan Bernier:
He’s a good goalie. He’s a really, really good goalie. We know he’s going to be tough to beat. He’s really going to be battling to get this win. He wants to obviously beat his old team, and at the same time, we want to beat him, too. One guy’s going to have bragging rights after the game, and hopefully it’s us.
Doughty, on potentially equaling a franchise record tonight:
Nah, I didn’t even know that that was a factor until you just said it…We have no idea about those kind of things. We just go out there and play and want to get wins. Wins are so important right now, and we want to get ‘em.
Doughty, on whether the Kings pay any attention to the Ducks and Sharks:
No. We can only control what we do. Obviously the standings are up in the room and stuff like that, but besides that, we’re not watching their games or anything like that. I don’t watch much hockey until the playoffs roll around. We can only control what we do, and that’s it.