Two nights ago the story was Mike Richards. Friday night, it's Dustin Brown. They say heroes are made in the playoffs, and in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, Dustin Brown may have etched his name into LA Kings history.
Lifted by Dustin Brown's two short-handed goals, the eighth-seeded Kings are just two games away from pulling an upset of giant proportions over the No. 1-seeded Vancouver Canucks.
And the truly remarkable thing about the world of hockey is that just a month-and-a-half ago, we were all talking about a possible trade of said Game 2 hero Dustin Brown.
Compared to Wednesday, the Kings played a drastically different game against the Vancouver Canucks. It was a game of taking the small opportunities and making the best of them.
When all was said and done at the end of Friday night, the Canucks outshot the series-leading Kings 46 to 26. But behind the stellar goaltending of Jonathan Quick and the leadership of captain Dustin Brown, the Kings carry the series back to Staples Center up two games to none.
The Canucks were 0-for-5 on the power play, but gave up two short-handed goals to the Kings captain. Brown would notch a third later on the power play, which ultimately proved to be the decider.
As stated earlier, much speculation surrounded the 27-year-old Brown and his apparent availability as the trade deadline approached. At the time, with that trade in mind, on Feb. 25 Brown put in a hat trick against the Chicago Blackhawks in an important Western Conference matchup.
When the chips were pushed in again Friday night, up 1-0 in the series and on the road, Captain Brown put in another 5-star performance with two shorties.
This is exactly the reason why the Kings should be happy they held onto Dustin Brown. He has never been the kind of player to be outspoken, but as the captain, he has always taken the approach of strong and silent, leading by example and his work ethic.
He lays it all out on the ice with his hitting, hard work, and his gritty blue-collar goals.
Every team needs a player like that to look up to and spark the bench. In a game of need, the Kings had to look no further than their captain to lead them forward.
While the team still must take two of the next five to close out the astounding potential upset, it seems that much more attainable with the way Brown and Mike Richards are playing.
Brown has 13 shots, three goals and one assist in the playoffs thus far. How can the Kings build on their monstrous Game 2 win? Check it out Sunday, 7:30 PDT to find out. If the first two games are any indication, Vancouver best be scrambling for some answers.