Brown's hat trick leads Kings past Hawks
Saturday, 02.25.2012 / 10:43 PMLOS ANGELES
-- Never mind that blockbuster trade by the Los Angeles Kings
. Saturday was all about the guy who hasn't been moved.
In his first game since a report that he was on the trading block, Kings captain Dustin Brown
responded with his third career hat trick in a 4-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks
Brown had a pair of power-play goals in the first period and a shorthanded goal in the second period as L.A. broke out offensively in the debut of newly acquired center Jeff Carter
had to stop just 19 shots for his seventh shutout this season and 21st of his career.
But the big statement came from Brown, who was reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN as being made available with Monday's trade deadline approaching.
"I've been a King my whole career," Brown said. "I expect to be a King beyond the next few days. For me, personally, I probably said this yesterday with all the rumors flying around, it's my responsibility to prepare myself to be the best I can and tonight I felt good."
The report was later qualified to have lost steam but it was certainly plausible given Brown's attractive cap number ($3.175 million annually through 2013-14) and status as one of the League's busiest hitters.
All Brown did Saturday was match a career-high with a four-point game to spark a Kings team that has struggled all season to score.
"I think we've been struggling as team," Brown said. "I've been struggling personally to score goals. It definitely felt good to some goals tonight and I hope to build on that. As a team we just got to really focus on … getting in those scoring areas."
It was, not surprisingly, the first Kings hat trick this season and the first since Anze Kopitar
on March 11, 2011. The last Kings hat trick at Staples Center? Brown on April 1, 2010.
Carter received cheers on his first shift and on his first shot on goal. He played on a line with former Philadelphia teammate Mike Richards
and rookie Dwight King
, as well as on both special teams units.
Kings coach Darryl Sutter said Carter was good early but added he's probably "played out" given the recent travel. Carter was in Indianapolis on Friday for medical evaluation, Sutter said.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous," said Carter, who logged 17:16 with four shots on goal. "It was kind of a battle for me tonight. For the last couple days it was a grind out there. I'm glad we got the two points. That's the main thing."
Meanwhile, Chicago's special teams issues continued as it extended its power play drought to 0 for 39 with an 0 for 6 night. Chicago has not scored on the power play since Jan. 24.
"I think the power play really took a lot of momentum in our game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "And they score early on their power plays and they get two and we lose our team on account of that … it was tough watching it.
"You can say our desperation wasn't where it needed to be. I think we lost whether our confidence or pace of to our game because the power play is having a tough go and it's bringing us down."
was pulled after he allowed four goals on 10 shots.
The Blackhawks had only four shots on goal in the third period.
"We dug ourselves a huge hole and we've got a young team," defenseman Brent Seabrook
said. "We didn't have the performance we wanted tonight and I thought L.A. came out early and turned on the power play. They buried a couple early on us and response wasn't there."
Brown completed the hat trick with Drew Doughty
serving an interference penalty. Willie Mitchell
sent the puck up to him and Brown tapped it through Crawford.
Mitchell, who signed a two-year contract extension Friday, added a goal. Jarret Stoll
matched a career-high with three assists.
Brown's second goal came when he slipped behind the defense to backhand in a rebound off Crawford's stick. Stoll started it with a faceoff win to set up Alec Martinez
for a shot up top.
Stoll also set up Brown's first goal with a clean entry into Chicago's zone and a deft pass to Brown, who cut inside the left circle and fired a wrist shot high past Crawford.