Brown Scores Three, Kings Shutout Blackhawks 4-0
Reunited and it feels so good. Or you know, however that song goes. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Well, that couldn’t have gone any better. Energized by the addition of one Jeff Carter and propelled by the play of Dustin Brown, the Kings scorched the visiting Chicago Blackhawks en route to a 4-0 final score.
Brown, who as recently as Thursday found himself the center of trendy trade rumors, recorded a natural hat trick in the game first twenty-four minutes of play. He added an assist on the Kings final goal of the evening to register his first four-point performance, matching a career high in the process.
Jonathan Quick made his fifty-third start of the season and collected his seventh shutout as well. That marks a career high for the young Quick, who undoubtedly appreciated the scoring output by his teammates up front.
The Kings played tonight’s game in the comfort of the Staples Center, their last home match in a rather long stretch of time. They play the next seven of eight away from L.A. starting on Monday. They began tonight’s game however with a flurry of scoring chances before Brown opened the floodgates with his fifteenth of the season.
Two more goals from the captain and nine shots from the team later, Crawford was yanked in favor of back-up Ray Emery and the Kings held a 3-0 lead. In his third game back from a stint on injured reserve, Jarret Stoll contributed two assists on the first two of Brown’s goals. The center now has eighteen points through fifty-eight games played. It’s certainly a disappointing figure for the soon to be unrestricted free agent (who also makes $3.6 million this season), but on this night, the Kings might view it as a promising effort with hopefully more to come.
Of course, no 3-0 lead is every safe, no matter how lopsided the play may look for both teams on the ice. This was evidenced by last week’s come from behind win for the Phoenix Coyotes, who were down by the exact same score at first intermission. But the Kings buckled down and protected their advantage to the best of their abilities, even adding another score from defensemen Willie Mitchell seven minutes into the next period. His slap shot, with assists from (who else?) Brown and Stoll, found the back of the net for the only goal Emery allowed in his two-plus periods of work.
The third period remained largely uneventful, yet Darryl Sutter surely wouldn’t have wanted it any other way with a lead to protect.
In his first game Jeff Carter was able to get four shots on goal in a little more than seventeen minutes of ice time. His best chance to score came in the first period upon receiving a pass from best buddy Mike Richards. He barreled towards the net, dropped a shoulder and promptly sent a shot glancing off the glove hand of Corey Crawford. Given a little more space or simply some less hand-eye coordination from the Chicago goaltender, the shot would have definitely gone in. Carter has averaged a total of thirty-six goals the past four years of his career and currently has fifteen on the season from his time in Columbus.
The Kings now sit in ninth place in the Western Conference, but tied with the eighth place Dallas Stars in points and games played. For what it’s worth, the Pacific division as a whole is starting to assert itself in the playoff picture for the first time all year with everyone but Anaheim right in the thick of things for the final three or four spots.