It is the first known demonstration of any kind during the anthem in an NHL regular-season game. The NHL has no rules governing what players must do during the national anthem.
Brown, who was scratched for Tampa Bay's season-opening win against Florida, remained standing throughout the anthem Saturday night. Brown, one of approximately 30 black players in the NHL, used the same protest before a preseason game against the Panthers last month.
"I wanted to do something to show my support," Brown told the Tampa Bay Times after the Lightning's 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. "There are some issues that we have to talk about. So, in my mind, just trying to bring a little more awareness, and any type of conversation that we can get started would be great. I know there's going to be negative backlash. But, in my heart, I know I did what was right."
The Lightning issued a statement later Saturday, saying, "The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate the moment before every game when we can unite as a community, paying homage to a flag that is representative of our nation and those who have sacrificed. At the same time, we respect our players and individual choices they may make on social and political issues."
Brown said his teammates supported his decision.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in the preseason a year ago to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. Since then, the protest has spread to other sports.
Brown, 27, is the son of former NFL running back Ted Brown, who played eight seasons for the Minnesota Vikings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.