Maybe some of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s magic rubbed off on Dustin Brown and the Kings.
It was a fun pregame scene Thursday: Ibrahimovic, the Galaxy star who made a stunning MLS debut last week, juggled a soccer ball with the Kings outside their locker room.
Brown then took a cue from the famous forward with a four-goal game, capped by his overtime goal 23 seconds into the extra session to give the Kings a 5-4 win at Staples Center.
Brown hammered home Anze Kopitar’s pass, an ironic sequence given that Kopitar achieved a four-goal game last month. It brought the Kings back from a dead third period in which they were outshot, 13-5, and coughed up a 4-2 lead.
“It’s definitely something I’ve never done before.” Brown said. “It’s nice, and to do it [while] we try to climb the standings. It’s a big win for us. Ultimately, the most important thing is just climbing.”
“He’s been terrific,” Kings coach John Stevens said of Brown. “He and Kopi have really led the charge up front. I say that not just because he got four goals. That’s as good as Brownie’s played in a long time.”
The drama allowed the Kings to take back third place in the Pacific Division with 98 points, one ahead of the Ducks and two behind the San Jose Sharks with one game remaining and their playoff opponent still up in the air.
They sure didn’t look like a playoff team late, though.
“I don’t know what it is in our DNA, but we seem to make it hard on ourselves a lot,” Brown said. “We have control of the game and try to get heroics every night, which is probably something we need to avoid next week [in the playoffs].”
Brown got his fourth career hat trick with 50 seconds remaining in the second period with a shot on the rush that glanced off Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin.
Even by then, it was a beast of a game for Brown. He made a tying conversion off Jeff Carter’s feed, a big hit on Tyler Ennis and an induced penalty on Ryan Murphy — all in the second period.
Brown drew a second penalty late in the third period and the Kings were gifted a two-man advantage because of a Wild too-many-men penalty, but still couldn’t score.
Defenseman Daniel Brickley made his NHL debut with the Kings because of a flu bug that forced some late lineup adjustments. Brickley got his first point on Tobias Rieder’s goal with his parents, Matt and Ally, in the stands from his hometown of Sandy, Utah.
His assist was one of five by an injury- and illness-depleted Kings’ defense. Paul LaDue was scratched, along with Torrey Mitchell, and Oscar Fantenberg and Jonny Brodzinski were recalled for depth purposes. Andy Andreoff played his first game since March 20.
But the spotlight fell on Brown. His 25th, 26th, 27th and 28th goals equaled his most since 28 in 2010-11. Drew Doughty reached 50 assists for the first time in his career.
Follow Curtis Zupke on Twitter @curtiszupke