Another two goals from Dustin Brown and another shutout from Jonathan Quick. That sentence very easily could have been from the MayorsManor archives. Instead, it’s from February 2021 and the Kings are still rolling. That’s five wins in a row now after they took the first contest of a two-game set scheduled in St. Louis this week.
Playing in his 1,200 NHL career regular-season game, Brown collected an unassisted goal late in the second period and then eventually added an empty net goal — his 10th of the season — to seal the victory.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) February 23, 2021
After the game, Brown shared the following comments:
On the discussion coming into the game playing a top team like St. Louis after winning four straight games
Be ready to play, those first few minutes; just our starts. We didn’t have a great start, but we weathered the storm. We just didn’t get a lot to their net. We turned the tide halfway through the first, ended up out-shooting them. They’re a really good team at home, we get a power play goal early in the game, it’s been a big part of our success – our power play.
On the emotional boost from Sean Walker returning to the lineup
It’s a huge lift. A lot of players have been coming back in the lineup the last few days, really made a difference in a lot of areas on the ice. Having solid players that have a little bit more experience helps.
[Walker] played really good, [Andreas Athanasiou] was noticeable both nights last couple, much like when [Matt] Roy came back a few games ago. It’s huge getting guys back.
On the success of the power play recently
We have different looks on each [power play unit], so it’s tough to defend because you got to adjust whether it’s Gabe’s [Vilardi] unit or [Anze Kopitar]’s unit because how we run them.
On if he liked the mentality of the team going into the third period
Probably about the first ten-twelve minutes we were really good, then we went into shell mode a little bit. We gave way too much sitting back in the last six to seven minutes of the game. [Jonathan Quick] had to make a lot of big saves, but sometimes that’s how you got to do it. They’re a really good team over there, they know how to come back in those types of games. The one thing we did really well late was our line changes. We were short and keeping fresh players on the ice allowed us to gain a line and relieve some pressure.
On if the media and fans should be surprised at the team’s success this season, and the veteran success the team is having
Definitely a team collective, we just talked about those guys getting back in the lineup. They’re huge parts of our team and we weathered the storm when they were out. We’re getting more pieces back and it really helps us. The surprise part, everyone’s always surprised outside of the room. We have a good team in there. We’re building on some of the momentum we had last year and the confidence, we have some young players coming in learning on the fly and doing a pretty good job of it. You have a good veteran core group and some other spots are starting to get filled in by some younger players which is a good thing for us is.
On if there is a pride factor for the veterans that may have been written off before the season
Yeah. I don’t think it’s the first time people doubted players in this room. It’s a pride thing for sure. If you’re not prideful, you’re probably still not playing in the league. Everyone has a little bit of that in them. It’s more of a team collective right now than any one guy or one group of guys. We’re playing a pretty solid game. We’re getting contributions from all four lines and some guys are filling some roles. Look at our [penalty kill], we have guys that play a little further down our lineup, but they’re a huge part of our [penalty kill]. It’s the little parts like that of a team that make it really hard to play against.
On if he is going to let his son Jake know that he is two goals behind Connor McDavid
Problem is I’m like what, ten behind [Auston] Matthews? I’ll have fun with it, hope maybe teach my son not to speak like that, I guess.
On if he changed anything in regard to shot selection, or if he is getting puck luck
Part of that is I’m pressuring on the offensive side of the puck. I haven’t killed, starting maybe middle last year, I stopped killing. That’s a lot of not only minutes, but a lot of minutes that are hard and exhausting minutes to do. Maybe I’m a little fresher, I don’t think I’ve scored a goal outside of ten feet of the net. Getting there a lot more often and earlier in the shifts early. I’m fresher, so I can get there and battle. Getting to the net has been a staple of my game, just getting there more often this year.
On if there is any truth to the cliché that you get smarter the older you get
I think there is. You look at some older players that play in the league for a while and they might slow down a little bit but thinking the game is a huge part at this level. You just get better if you’re paying attention. I think that I think the game a lot better than I did when I started. Each year I tried to get better, that’s the key, just trying to get better every year regardless of age. At the end of day, it’s just a number and it will catch up, but if you put the work in you can continue to excel. There’s a lot of room for me to still improve.
Additional postgame comments linked below.
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Lead photo via Getty Images / LA Kings