Despite losing Game 5 to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Los Angeles Kings have reasons to be confident going into Game 6. The biggest reason for this confidence is the play of team captain Dustin Brown. After signing a massive contract extension to remain in Los Angeles through 2022, Brown had an atrocious regular season that way him post his lowest numbers across the board since his rookie season a decade ago. The postseason didn’t see much improvement as Brown had two playoff goals and none in the month of May entering Game 4.
Brown netted goals in Games 4 and 5 as he rediscovered his scoring touch when the team needed it most. He also provided his usual physical presence as the Blackhawks’ defensemen felt the brute force of Brown’s hits shift after shift. When Brown’s physical game is present and accounted for, his offensive struggles become irrelevant as he is still impacting the game in a great way. Despite the outcome in Game 5, Brown’s play was stellar and there were flashes of his 2012 version.
While comparisons are being made to the Kings’ 2012 Championship team, the bottom line is many of 2012’s key players are drastically underachieving this postseason. In fact it is no stretch to say the Kings are winning in spite of Brown, Jonathan Quick and Mike Richards among other notable performers from their 2012 run. If the Kings want to win Game 6 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final they’ll need all hands on deck, and with Brown’s play of late, look for the captain to be front and center.