He'll turn 33 next month and he's at 626 games after more than 10 years in the
But Mitchell proved there's nothing wrong with being unsung.
He set up the tying goal on one of his three shifts in the third period. The stage lights fell uniquely on Brown and Gaborik, but Mitchell could identify with them.
"It's not easy getting to that number," Mitchell said. "I can attest to it."
A role player for most of his career, Mitchell has persevered and would be closer to 1,000 games if not for a serious broken leg injury that wiped out what would have been his second NHL season, in 2008-09, with the
Now with his fifth team, Mitchell has gained his footing with the
"He understands his role on the hockey team, which is a really important thing," Kings coach John Stevens said. "Some guys don't embrace their role. He does."
Mitchell still makes his mark with speed, faceoff ability and penalty killing, and Stevens said his veteran approach rubs off on younger players. It's a similar effect that Brown and Anze Kopitar have on rookie Alex Iafallo, and that Gaborik and
The fourth-line wingers have changed frequently but Mitchell has been a regular part of the lineup at center. For someone accustomed to new dressing rooms, he's getting more comfortable in this one.
"I feel pretty good," Mitchell said. "I feel confident and I feel like I'm settling in nicely."
Saturday represents Mitchell's first foray into the rivalry from the Kings' side. San Jose drafted him in 2004, and its foundational players
"Super excited," Mitchell said. "I'll see how it goes. I've played against them quite a bit over the years, so that's kind of behind me. But it will be a little weird."
The Kings are in a one-for-13 slump on the power play and have only three man-advantage goals since Thanksgiving. Opportunities have been scarce — that slump spans seven games — but Stevens said he's more concerned with them not shooting enough, if only to create a rebound or other chance.
"I'd like to see our overall execution improve," Stevens said. "I'd like to see our mind-set change a little more to volume as opposed to one shot, one kill."
AT SAN JOSE
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Update: The Kings resume