Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 4/14/12
Dustin Brown wasn't actually going to be traded on February 27. There were calls made to Dean Lombardi, and like any responsible general manager, he listened, comprehended, and responsibly turned down any offer for the Kings captain, American silver medalist and pillar of the team's Old World Order. While Mike Richards and Jeff Carter have earned some well-earned points in this series, as well as some praise by Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, who claimed Richards "played one of the best games I've seen him play since he's been in L.A." after Game 1, it's still the team's long-standing establishment of Brown, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene, to name several players, who have long forged the team's hard working, two-way character. In a performance similar to a three-goal night against Chicago on February 25 while his name had swirled around in trade rumors, Brown's two shorthanded markers Friday night left the Vancouver Canucks limping towards Los Angeles in a series they trail 2-0. Game 3 is Sunday night at Staples Center. (7:30 p.m. FOX Sports West) Similar to the two power play goals and shorthander registered versus the Blackhawks, Brown's performance against Vancouver reeked of the special teams dominance L.A. has exhibited through the first two games of the series. The power play maintained its 25 pace when Stoll stuffed a loose puck past Luongo for a two-goal third period lead, a goal that had originally been credited to Brown to complete a hat trick he held for less than two hours. But it has been the stifling penalty kill that has been a staple of Kings hockey in 2011-12 driving the Canucks completely out of sorts in this series, turning the defending Western Conference Champions into a flailing, desperate unit. Los Angeles is a perfect 10-for-10 on the penalty kill in this series, and each of Brown's two daggers was particularly harmful. Anze Kopitar did the grunt work that led to the first goal. Intercepting a careless Alex Edler drop pass, his terrific stick work to pull the puck around Luongo stayed in front of the goaltender before deflecting back to a net-crashing Brown, who surgically wristed the puck high through a tangled mess of bodies to put the Kings up 1-0 with under eight seconds remaining in the first period. "The first one was just Kopi being Kopi," Brown said to FOX Sports West's Patrick O'Neal after the game. "I just picked up the trash, and there was a lot of traffic in front." After Vancouver tied the game almost instantly in the second period and drew a Willie Mitchell holding call less than five minutes in, it was Brown who reclaimed the lead for L.A. while making a statement towards anyone who as ever hinted at any perceived lack of speed or skill by someone who has finished among the top three hits totals in each of the last three years. Pushing the puck past a fallen Dan Hamhuis at the left point 12 seconds into the Canucks' power play, Brown outhustled the two defenders into the attacking zone before alternating from his forehand to his backhand at top speed and lifting the puck past a sliding Luongo. "They're huge goals," Brown said. "Special teams is a big part of playoff hockey. It's not too often that you're going to see two shorthanded goals like that. The first one is just Kopi being a world-class player." It was the first time one player tallied two shorthanded goals in a playoff game since John Madden scored twice in a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on April 25, 2006. It also marked the first time the Kings scored two shorthanded goals in a playoff game since Jari Kurri and Dave Taylor accomplished the feat on May 21, 1993 in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Campbell Conference Finals. As a result, Los Angeles is ahead 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since its inaugural season of 1967-68. There are quite a few "for the first time since" moments in this series. "They're obviously a very good team," Kopitar said about a Canucks team that finished the year with 53 road points, tied for the highest total in the league. "To get two in here, it's huge for us, but nothing is decided yet. We have to play. We have to focus and play our game for whatever it is, the next two, three, four games. We have to play our game and focus on that."
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