The LA Kings return to the ice on Tuesday night against their rival in the Anaheim Ducks.
It seems like a long time since they last played. In fairness, it has only been a few days, but the 3-3-2 LA Kings are nonetheless itching to get back to action. They will do so on Tuesday evening at STAPLES Center, facing off against their regional rivals, the Anaheim Ducks, for the first time this season.
The Kings practiced on Monday in preparation for their Freeway Faceoff tilt, and one of those who spoke with the media afterward was the longest-serving King, Dustin Brown.
“It’s been kind of a shotgun start for us as a team,” the former captain noted. “I thought we’ve handled it pretty well, especially considering how we started the year with two– you know, blowing two leads in the third and that whole thing.”
Those two surrendered leads occurred in the first two games of the season when the Kings said goodbye to not one but two 3-1 third-period leads. In both cases, the silver-and-black fell in overtime. Some would understand if the Kings were deterred by this.
Instead, the club was able to right the ship, playing a much more complete game in their next outing despite a regulation loss. Still, the momentum helped the Kings win their first game in their next outing and even pick up their first, albeit brief, winning streak.
“I thought we responded well after that and didn’t let it get us down, which I think is a good sign for our team,” Brown added. “It’s not going to be any easier considering everything that’s going on. We got a couple COVID positives, dealing with all that, so all in all, I think we’ve handled it pretty well as a group and we’ve been ready and played every single game.
So, we haven’t gotten off to the start– I think we probably haven’t scored the first goal very often, which is a tough thing to do every night — night-in, night-out — but we’ve been able to even stick around games and make them interesting, which gives us a chance at the end.”
While the Kings have seen quite a few changes thus far, Dustin Brown is no exception as he has a new linemate in Lias Andersson.
Acquired from the New York Rangers in October, the Kings were hoping Andersson would be a cog in the club’s future. As far as Brown is concerned, though, it’s so far, so good having Andersson on his line.
“To be honest, I didn’t really know much about him when we got him,” admitted the 36-year-old. “But, playing with him, he’s just a really smart player, [making] a lot of little plays that maybe go unnoticed. He makes a lot of little plays. It’s fun to play with him because he’s really good [at positioning], really smart player and allows it while we work together, while we were playing together there on the road, and he always seems to be in the spot where I can give him the puck and get it back. It’s a work in progress but, like I said, I just started to get to know him.”
Another pressing issue thus far for the Kings has been their work on the power play. While the team had struggled with the man advantage early on, the Kings have picked things up recently as they now average a goal per game on the PP.
More from Rink Royalty
- LA Kings goaltending could be better than expected in 2023-24
- LA Kings should consider taking a chance on these 2 free agents
- 2 forwards listed as “movable pieces” by the Los Angeles Kings
- LA Kings Need a Goalie: Here’s Our Wishlist of Potential Targets
- Checking in on the LA Kings players in the IIHF World Championship
Brown was asked how he felt about his team’s performance with the man advantage.
“I think a big part of it is we started working on this early on last year and we changed a lot of the way we did things two years prior to that with Todd coming in,” explained the two-time Stanley Cup champion.” He’s always had a really good power play wherever he’s gone. I think that the year last year really helped lay our foundation now we’re just adding elements to it, which [gives us] more options given our personnel. It’s a one-man breakout, so that definitely helps get us set up.”
His best days may be behind him — at least performance-wise — but do not let that fool you. Dustin Brown continues to be instrumental in the success of the LA Kings. He may not don the ‘C’ anymore, but the Ithaca native has nonetheless proven that he is a bona fide leader. Furthermore, Brown has proven that he is a leader who is willing to help the younger players have a smooth transition with the franchise he’s called home for 18 years.
Not only does Tuesday night mark the first installment of the 2020-21 Freeway Faceoff series as well as the debut of the home team’s Reverse Retro uniforms but the LA Kings are hoping that Tuesday marks the beginning of a new roll. The Kings are hoping that a win against their hated rivals from Orange County will propel them not only to victory but to better days, and better games, ahead.
Of course, this is difficult to do without their catalyst, Dustin Brown.
So, what can Brown do for you? Let’s just wait and see.