On the surface, Dustin Brown's goal with less than four minutes remaining in the Kings' 5-2 victory over Florida did little more than change the final score Tuesday. Dig deeper, though, and that play could prove to be the one that changes Brown's season.
At least that's what the Kings' captain is hoping after getting off to slow start that has seen him score just three times in 19 games.
"Sometimes just getting a goal, it makes you feel good," Brown said. "Whether it's a big goal or a meaningless goal in a game like that, it can put you in better spirits and get you out of the funk you're in."
Brown is in more than a funk. He's also in Coach Darryl Sutter's doghouse. With the Kings' forwards struggling for consistency, Sutter has begun juggling his lines and limiting ice time. Brown, for example, was dropped to the fourth line against the Panthers, playing a season-low 14 minutes.
"Hey, we've got 14 forwards. [If] guys have to sit out to watch, maybe analyze their own game, then that's what we're doing," Sutter said. "Up front we really have to play a hell of a lot better. That's why we're moving guys around. That's why guys are going in and out of the lineup."
Until he regains the scoring touch that allowed him to score 199 goals in 11 NHL seasons, Brown is trying to contribute in other ways.
"When you can bring things to the game other than points, it allows you to have an impact in different ways," said Brown, who leads Kings forwards with 49 hits. "It definitely weighs on me when I'm not producing like I want to. But I can bring the physical edge and the leadership and have an impact from that standpoint."
The Kings' troubled power-play unit scored a season-high three goals Tuesday and has five in its last two games. Part of the reason for that, Sutter said, is the Kings' playing more aggressively with the man advantage.
"It's impossible to score if you're not around the net or don't put pucks on the net," he said. "The power play is based on your top players, for the most part, and lately we haven't been using our top players because our top players have not been very effective. So we've been using everybody.
"And that's what we'll continue to do until we get more production out of our top players."
Martinez back on ice
The Kings' battered back line got some good news when defenseman Alec Martinez, who underwent surgery on a finger last week, skated before Wednesday's full-team practice.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 790.
Etc.: Thursday's game is the second on a 10-day, five-game trip for the Hurricanes, who have won just twice away from home. But that second road win came Tuesday in Dallas, where Carolina scored a season-high six goals to beat the Stars, 6-4. The Kings lead the league with nine wins at home.