Brown lifts Kings in OT to cap 1,000th game
LOS ANGELES — On a night when one Los Angeles Kings player was honored for playing his 1,000th NHL game, another closed the show as he hit the same plateau.
Dustin Brown scored 44 seconds into overtime in his 1,000th career game, all with the Los Angeles Kings, who defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Thursday night.
Brown converted a wrist shot for his 13th goal of the season off a feed from Drew Doughty. Anze Kopitar earning the secondary assist.
Los Angeles (22-10-4) earned its second victory in a row. It was the fourth time this season the Kings rallied for a win when trailing after two periods (4-8-3).
Alec Martinez also scored for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Quick made 31 saves.
Colorado (16-15-3) got its lone goal from captain Gabriel Landeskog while losing for the third time in five games (2-2-1). It was the only the second time this season the Avalanche fell when leading after two periods (12-1-1). Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves.
Los Angeles’ Marian Gaborik was honored in a pregame ceremony for hitting the 1,000-game plateau last week in New York, but Brown provided the highlight this evening. The overtime goal continued a season of redemption in his 14th year with the franchise.
After experiencing two underachieving season under coach Darryl Sutter, Brown has played with new vigor and energy with John Stevens behind the bench. His 29 points in 36 games are not far from the 36 points he recorded in 80 games last season. Stevens has been Brown’s biggest advocate when most critics believed the winger’s days as an effective offensive player were done.
“That was fitting, poetic justice,” Stevens said. “Nothing is given here, everything is earned. Dustin Brown has earned it. Some people are surprised at his play, but I am not.”
Brown downplayed his goal, preferring to emphasize getting the Kings back to the postseason after missing the playoffs two of the past three seasons.
“The big picture is really nice, probably something, for me, a memory, it’s nice,” Brown said. “But on a day-to-day (basis), which is the main focus, it’s how you get to the win. We didn’t play very good, but good teams find a way to win when maybe they shouldn’t. Our fourth line got us a big goal, and overtime is three-on-three.”
The Avalanche continue to show signs of improvement after a last-place standings finish in 2016-17. They kept Los Angeles at bay for two periods but could not hold the lead.
Despite the loss, coach Jared Bednar was pleased with the effort from his young group.
“I liked the way we played tonight,” Bednar said. “I thought we were patient. They made a couple pushes and we did a good job weathering the storm and had a few of our own. We probably could have done a better job of getting traffic to the front of the net, but it was a good solid game by us.”
Colorado took a 1-0 lead on Landeskog’s 14th goal of the season at 11:14 of the second period. Landeskog took possession of the puck behind the Los Angeles net after a shot by Nathan MacKinnon was high and hit the glass. Landeskog skated unchallenged around the perimeter of the Los Angeles zone and beat Quick with the wrist shot with Mikko Rantanen earning the secondary assist.
Both teams had two power-play opportunities in the middle frame but could not convert. The Avalanche stifled the Kings’ offense through two periods, limiting Los Angeles to 14 shots.
The Kings tied the game at 1-1 on Martinez’s fourth goal of the season at 10:36 of the third period. Martinez’s wrist shot from the right point found its way through a screen by Jonny Brodzinski and past Varlamov for the equalizer. Torrey Mitchell and Andy Andreoff registered assists.
NOTES: Colorado did not dress D Erik Johnson and LW Gabriel Bourque. Johnson completed a two-game suspension for a late hit on Tampa Bay’s Vladislav Namestnikov in the Avalanche’s 6-5 loss to the Lightning on Saturday. ... Los Angeles RW Dustin Brown became the 315th player in league history to play 1,000 career games. ... The Kings placed D Christian Folin on injured reserve Tuesday with an upper-body injury and recalled D Kevin Gravel from their AHL Ontario affiliate Wednesday. ... Los Angeles scratched LW Kyle Clifford, LW Jussi Jokinen and Gravel.