L.A. forward Dwight King has been a pleasant surprise

NEWARK, N.J. — When Dwight King was asked his tiny hometown’s most famous resident, he quipped that it was his brother, D.J. With a population less than 5,000, Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, doesn’t have a lot of history to draw from.

Until now.

But it’s not the Washington Capitals and Hershey (American Hockey League) enforcer in the spotlight.

It’s Dwight King, who has come out of nowhere to become a key piece of the Los Ange les Kings’ run to the Stanley Cup Final.

“I think the game of hockey’s weird; when you get some confidence, you never know where you’re going to roll with it,” D.J. King said. “He’s been put in very good situations this year where he’s playing some key minutes where he’s getting the chance to score, and the puck’s going in for him right now.”

King is third on the team in playoff scoring with five goals, succeeding beyond expectations when given the chance. He was a fourth-round pick in 2007 and spent the past two seasons in the AHL.

Dwight King made it to the NHL four years after his brother, but he’s done it with a much defter touch. D.J. King fought his way to the pros, and the 22-year-old rookie is bringing excitement to Meadow Lake in a much different way.

“He was gifted right from a young kid. He had hands. I didn’t have that set of hands,” D.J. King said. “He works hard. But he’s just gifted. He’s always had a nice set of hands.”

Nice enough to stick with the Kings after being called up from Manchester. But he didn’t expect to have this kind of impact.

“But being part of a team, you know everybody has to contribute to be successful,” he said. “I just happened to get a couple goals here and there to chip in, and everybody else has kind of done their own when they’ve been asked. It’s been great for us.”

And great for D.J., watching at home in Meadow Lake. He’ll be at Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles with his parents and sisters, but even admiring from afar has been a treat.

“You get so busy during the hockey season. I’m always wound up in my own world kind of thing,” D.J. King said. “Now that I can sit back and watch, it’s always a good time.”

But D.J. King has been instrumental to his brother’s success, even if only by example. The five-year age difference allowed Dwight King to get a feel for the progression from youth to junior to pro hockey.

The biggest help didn’t come in the form of advice between brothers but just watching D.J. leave Meadow Lake as a teenager to chase a lofty dream.

“To advance your career, you do have to move away from small towns at an earlier age, which is tougher,” Dwight King said. “Overall, if you’re committed and your parents are committed, there’s obviously the opportunity to get there.”

D.J. King believed in his brother, given his natural talent. His making it to the NHL was another confidence boost.

“When he was a young kid, he’s always been one of the top players in northern Saskatchewan and even Saskatchewan [as a whole]. I knew he could play a little bit,” D.J. King said. “As I was making it into the NHL, he was just coming to the [Western Hockey League]. So I knew he could easily make it there if I did, for sure.”

Now Dwight King is four Los Angeles victories away from winning a Stanley Cup. He hasn’t thought about his potential day with the trophy in Meadow Lake, beyond the summer of 2003 when Jeff Friesen won it with the New Jersey Devils and brought it to the arena.

“I was younger then, so I can imagine how excited kids would be,” Dwight King said. “As far as planning on anything, that hasn’t crossed my mind.”

Not much of this improbable fame was planned, so that’s probably for the best.

“It’s been great. Obviously, it’s happened so quick. You try to just take it all in as it’s happening,” Dwight King said. “As a hockey player obviously you want to win championships. To get this opportunity this quick, I couldn’t ask for more.”

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