Kings happy Brown still around

Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (not shown) is hit by Kings forward Dustin Brown during Game 3 of...

Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (not shown) is hit by Kings forward Dustin Brown during Game 3 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series in at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif., April 15, 2012. (DANNY MOLOSHOK/Reuters)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 PM ET

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. - Sometimes the best thing to do nothing.

The Los Angeles Kings are finding the truth in that adage in the case of captain Dustin Brown.

Brown, the longest-serving member of the Kings -- he's the only player who suited up for the club prior to the 2004 lockout still remaining -- was rumoured to be on the block at the trade deadline.

If you believe the whispers, the Kings weren't so much shopping the 27-year-old from Ithaca, N.Y., as they were listening to offers.

Still, it was a very real possibility Brown could have been dealt from a team which was obviously changing its leadership crew by bringing in the likes of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

Good thing the Kings didn't, because Brown has been as dominating as any player in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

"I don't know what that whole story was, but maybe it lit a fire under him," said Kings centre Jarret Stoll. "Ever since then, he's been a different player."

The Kings have a commanding 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven opening-round series against the Vancouver Canucks, which resumes Wednesday, and it's a toss-up whether Brown or goalie Jonathan Quick has been the biggest factor.

Quick has recorded three wins, one a shutout, while posting a sparkling 1.30 goals-against average and .970 save percentage. But Brown has been the offensive catalyst.

Just look at his outings.

• Game 1: One goal, eight shots on net, four hits.

• Game 2: Two shorthanded goals, three points, five shots, three hits, three takeaways.

• Game 3: The lone goal, one hellacious check on Henrik Sedin among his four, and six shots on goal.

Could that be the best stretch of games he's played?

"In big games like this, yes," Brown said. "I haven't had the opportunity to play in a lot of big games, but, personally, I've felt pretty good the last quarter of the year and it's carried over."

That cliche -- your best players have to be your best players -- is being proven correct by the 2010 U.S. Olympian.

"It's fun watching him," said defenceman Matt Greene. "He's been doing it for a long time for us and it's fun to see him get some recognition."

Brown recorded his fifth consecutive 20-goal season, but the 22 goals was his lowest since 2006-07.

However, he took off right after the trade rumblings surfaced. He responded in the first game following the reports with three goals and an assist against the Chicago Blackhawks and hasn't looked back.

"When you're name's out there, you definitely want to prove people wrong," he said. "I'm a pretty self-motivated person as it is. The rumours and whatever happened at the deadline, you hear about it, but at the same time I knew I could be better than I was the first half of the year.

"Hockey's a funny game. It's ups and downs. Confidence. Just getting into a rhythm when you're feeling good. I've really been focusing on keeping my game a little more simple than I did early in the season.

"When you do that, good things start to happen."

Truth be told, Brown and the Kings underachieved during the regular season. They were so middling before the midway point, coach Terry Murray was fired and replaced by Darryl Sutter.

Brown admitted that was one of a few wakeup calls he and the Kings needed.

"You've always got to look at yourself in the mirror as an athlete. I think, given the type of year we had as a team, and individually, a lot of the guys started to realize we needed to be better, individually and as a team, and we had a lot of big players step up at big times."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


Videos

Photos