Dustin Brown’s Improved Play Is About Much More Than Not Wearing The “C”

Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — No, he’s not setting the National Hockey League on fire, nor is he hot enough to melt the ice he’s been skating on. Nevertheless, much maligned forward Dustin Brown has not only been a far better player compared to the one he has been the last few seasons, but he has also been one of the Los Angeles Kings’ best players so far this season.

Through 20 games this season, Brown has scored three goals and has added six assists for nine points. That puts him on pace to score twelve goals and to contribute 25 assists for 37 points.

Last season, Brown ended the regular season with 11 goals and 17 assists, good for 28 points in 82 games.

Although that extrapolation seems to indicate that Brown isn’t showing a tremendous amount of improvement over last season, numbers don’t tell the whole story.

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LA Kings’ Woes Aren’t Just Offensive

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Having to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins while riding a three-game losing streak and a goal scoring drought of the same duration is not a position any team wants to be in, but that’s exactly what the struggling Los Angeles Kings have in store for them when they host the Penguins tonight at Staples Center (7:30 PM PDT).

Having been shutout in their last three games is the most obvious problem the Kings are facing.

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LA Kings Brayden McNabb Looks Like An Improved Player

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Brayden McNabb, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Last season, young defenseman Brayden McNabb got off to a somewhat rocky start to his second full season in the National Hockey League. In fact, he was a healthy scratch for the Los Angeles Kings in their season opener against the San Jose Sharks (5-1 loss) due to what head coach Darryl Sutter characterized as a “rough training camp.” The now-25-year-old, 6-4, 212-pound native of Davidson, Saskatchewan didn’t score his first goal that season until December 6, 2015, a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

What a difference a year makes.

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Tanner Pearson, Nic Dowd Give LA Kings Much Needed Spark

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With their 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on October 20 in Dallas, the Los Angeles Kings avoided the first 0-4 start in franchise history, and they did that, in large part, because of the spark provided by left wing Tanner Pearson and rookie center Nic Dowd.

After being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the season, Dowd made his season debut on October 18 at Minnesota, a 6-3 loss. But on October 20 at Dallas, he opened the scoring on the power play at 8:18 of the first period, finishing off a nifty passing with a deke move that Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen bit on, giving Dowd an open right side of the net to shoot at for his first National Hockey League goal.

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LA Kings: No Quick? No Problem

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Looking back to a cold, dark night in Buffalo, New York on November 12, 2013, Los Angels Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick suffered a grade 2 groin strain in a game against the Buffalo Sabres, forcing him to miss significant time.

Media, pundits and fans—just about everyone predicted that the Kings would go into a tailspin without their superstar goaltender. But what happened next surprised shocked the hockey world, as Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones stepped up to backstop the Kings to points in 17 of their next 19 games, putting the Kings in position to go on to win the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship.

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