June 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Stanley Cup Finals

'Zombie mode' working for Kings

Captain Dustin Brown and the Kings are the first team to win three Game 7s on the road. They have home ice against the Rangers. (Harry How / Getty Images)

El Segundo, Calif. — Dustin Brown used a delicious phrase last week to describe the Kings’ seemingly inexorable march through the Stanley Cup playoffs, outworking and outlasting every opponent in their path.

According to their captain, the Kings have been in “zombie mode” while they chewed through San Jose, Anaheim and Chicago in three straight seven-game series, never getting more than 72 hours of rest between games for seven grueling weeks.

Brown’s brainy comparison seemed apt after Los Angeles beat the New York Rangers, 3-2 in overtime, Wednesday in the Stanley Cup Finals opener.

The Kings might not be as fast as their four playoff opponents, and they’ve encountered innumerable obstacles along the way. They still execute their relentless style of play with remarkable precision, and nobody has figured out how to stop them yet.

“We’re very comfortable in any situation we’re in as a group,” Brown said Thursday.

Game 2 is tonight, giving the Kings another two-day rest — which is more than these zombies have needed lately.

The current Kings’ tenacity is unmatched in this franchise’s mostly mediocre history, and they’re becoming one of the most remarkable teams in recent NHL seasons.

Los Angeles has won nine seven-game playoff series in the past three years — one more than the Kings managed in their first 43 seasons of existence combined.

The Kings won an incredible seven elimination games in the first three rounds this spring, including four straight in their historic first-round rally past San Jose.

Even when the Kings found themselves one period or one shift away from elimination, their will never wavered — and neither did their determination to play responsible two-way hockey.

“It’s everybody taking pride, chipping in, helping each other out,” said Anze Kopitar, the NHL’s postseason scoring leader with 24 points.

“We have always played our best hockey when you push and pull guys together. That’s what it is, and that’s what we’ve been doing so far.”

Coach Darryl Sutter takes little credit for his players’ tremendous group will, but he fostered it with a steady message and constant accountability.

“Every step they take, they’ve met so many challenges,” Lombardi said. “You’re really happy for those players, because you know how much they’ve put into it and how much they care. It’s special to see them be rewarded.”

Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was around for the start of the Kings’ current playoff brilliance, much to his chagrin.

His Canucks were knocked out of the first round by eighth-seeded Los Angeles two years ago.

“They were a good team in the years past,” Vigneault said. “They’re a real good team now. It’s obvious they’ve got more experience. They play their game plan to a T, and they don’t deviate in any shape, way or form.”

Stanley Cup Finals

Los Angeles vs. N.Y. Rangers


Kings lead 1-0

(x-if necesssry)

TV: All games on NBC unless noted

Game 1: Los Angeles 3-2 (OT)

Tonight: at Los Angeles, 7 p.m.


at New York, 8 p.m. NBCSN


at New York, 8 p.m. NBCSN

x-Friday, June 13:

at Los Angeles, 8 p.m.

x-Monday, June 16:

at New York, 8 p.m.

x-Wednesday, June 18:

at Los Angeles, 8 p.m.