Despite his amazing resume Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown is not considered by pundits to be a “skill player.” Brown generates much of his offense through hard work and tenacity, not with raw skill like teammates Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik. Having said that his deke of the New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final would have made even the most “skilled” players proud. The Kings need more of this with the series shifting back to the Staples Center.
After signing a massive contract extension with the Kings last summer Brown has endured a season from Hell. Brown posted his worst numbers since his rookie season and looked like he lost a step. The beginning of the playoffs showed more of the same, but with a strong end to the Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks and some timely scoring in the Final, that trend appears to be broken.
Brown’s double overtime goal in Game 2 was a thing of pure beauty as very few players would have both the toughness to be in the low slot and the offensive ability to tip such a shot. Having this blue-collar mindset with his adept scoring ability is what makes him so valuable to the Kings’ attack.
His offense may be different from that of the Kopitars and Gaboriks of the league, but there are no pictures on the scoresheet. It’s also worth noting that the hardest workers always seem to get the most favorable bounces. For Brown in the Stanley Cup Final that has been exactly the case.
His penalty killing has been key throughout the playoffs but was especially apparent in Game 4. After a strong shift shorthanded penalty expired in the second period he stole the puck from the struggling Dan Girardi and scored the Kings’ only goal of the game.
For all of Brown’s struggles this year another Stanley Cup would make it all worthwhile. Brown’s offense has been about quality, not quantity, and that mindset will surely bring another Stanley Cup to Los Angeles.