The Key Three: Feb. 25
Three key aspects of the Kings' 4-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks
1. HATS OFF TO CAPTAIN
There was the Kings’ trade for Jeff Carter, and their signing of Willie Mitchell to a two-year contract extension, but the most-shocking team-related news of the previous 48 hours might have been the reports that the Kings were entertaining offers for Dustin Brown. A homegrown product and the team captain, Brown apparently wants to stick around for a while. Brown recorded the third hat trick of his career, and the first Kings hat trick of the season. There was a lot of emotion in the Kings’ game, in part because of Carter’s debut, but by the end of the second period, it was clear that the game, and the night, belonged to Brown.
2. SPECIAL-TEAMS KNOCKOUT
In this season’s first two games between the Kings and Blackhawks, neither team scored a power-play goal. Special teams figured to be a big factor last night. The Kings have been poor on the power play and, of late, surprisingly wobbly on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks have been awful on the power play and strong on the penalty kill. The Kings won the special-teams fight via knockout. They scored two power-play goals in the first period, then delivered the big blow with a shorthanded goal -- Brown’s third goal -- to take a 3-0 lead. If the Kings’ power play could get going, their offensive woes would diminish considerably.
3. QUICK’S BOUNCE-BACK EFFORT
When a low-scoring team such as the Kings puts in four goals, it’s easy to ignore the goalie, but don’t overlook what Jonathan Quick did for the Kings last night. He needed a good game, coming off shaky efforts in losses to Phoenix and Colorado. The Blackhawks, to be certain, were not anywhere close to their best, but they had some chances early. Chicago had four power-play chances in the first 22 minutes, including a 29-second 5-on-3 advantage in the first period, but Quick was sharp and made a handful of strong saves. Quick didn’t face much sustained pressure, but he looked confident and on top of his game.