Wearing a grey Los Angeles Kings sweatshirt, Jeff Carter walked into an interview room downstairs at Staples Center having passed the requisite physical, two hours shy of his first puck drop as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.
"Coming in to this team," Carter said, "it's a team I told Mike Richards when he got traded here that you know, you've got a heck of a team, you've got a chance to win here,' so I'm excited to be a part of it. We've got a lot of work to do ahead of us. I'm excited."
Admitting that "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous," Carter acquitted himself fine in his first 17 minutes and 16 seconds as a King, taking four shots one of which he ripped off from a sharp angle on the right wing during his first shift that forced Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford to make an awkward save.
It was exactly as Richards had described it the previous day.
"It's a quick release, it's usually on net, so I think it surprises a lot of goaltenders," Richards said of Carter's shot.
Instead, it was a King with his name involved in hazy trade scenarios who made the biggest impact in Los Angeles' 4-0 shutout, Jonathan Quick's league-tying seventh of the season.
Dustin Brown recorded a natural hat trick as part of a four point night, showing that recent reports pegging him as a potential trade target have not deterred his focus or determination to plant the Kings firmly in the playoff picture in the west. The team he captains finished the night tied with Dallas and Colorado with 68 points but without the tiebreaker and ninth in the conference; Los Angeles travels to play in Nashville on Monday (5:00 pm FOX Sports West).
"I've been a King my whole career and I expect to be a King beyond the next few days," Brown said. " It's my responsibility to prepare myself the best I can and tonight felt good.
It was an effort that drew the praise of coach Darryl Sutter, who oversaw one of the club's strongest 60 minutes of hockey of the season. The Kings scored on four of their first 10 shots.
"He was going to the net," Sutter said of Brown's play. "Really good. I think that when he was taking shots that's where he was going; not across or anywhere else, just straight that way. That's the type of player he is."
For Carter, it's another turn in a season in which any idea of consistency has been difficult to grasp.
"I went in to Columbus, felt pretty good in the preseason, was starting to kind of get acclimated with everything linemates, new team, whatnot and I break my foot. I'm out four weeks. I come back, start to get going again a little bit more, and then I'm out with a shoulder injury. It was real up and down, a lot of time to sit back and reflect on things."
"I think since I've been back from my shoulder, I've started to play some pretty good hockey. I'm hoping to carry it over here."
Denying that he had asked for a trade from Columbus, the three-time 30 goal scorer with a career high of 46 easily understood his role on a team that ranks last in the league with 2.08 goals per game, saying "I kind of figured that out pretty quick."
"You look up and down their lineup, they've got some great players," Carter said before the game. "I obviously just got here, so I can't really comment on it, but I think it's just a matter of time before the bounces start going their way and pucks start going in the net."
NOTES: Carter, on his first impressions of the team's systems: "The Kings' defensive game is so structured where everybody's on the same page making simple plays and go-and go's. It makes a big difference. It's pretty easy to jump with the other guys." Brown's hat trick was the third of his career and part of his third career four-point night. It was the first Kings hat trick since Anze Kopitar's three goals in a 4-2 win at Columbus on March 11, 2011. Jonathan Quick's seventh shutout of the season moved him within one of the franchise's single season record, set by Rogie Vachon in 1976-77. It was Quick's second shutout of Chicago this season. Los Angeles is 17-0-2 when scoring three-plus goals in a game.