Anze Kopitar summed up the Kings' first-period performance rather quickly: "Not a whole lot of things went well."
Prior to Sunday's matchup against the Blackhawks, the Kings were on a six-game winning streak. Even more impressive was their 18-game streak without allowing a first-period goal.
All of that came to an end fewer than six minutes into Sunday's game as Marian Hossa recorded a short-handed goal; the first of three goals to get past Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens within the first 20 minutes of the game.
"Every time you lose a game you feel disappointed, it doesn't matter if you're on a streak or not," Kopitar said following the Kings' 3-1 loss. "We're not happy with the way we started off. We have to make sure when we head home that's not going to be the case."
Like the Blackhawks, the Kings have been utilizing their backup goalies as Jonathan Quick continues to rehab a lower-body injury. Rookie Martin Jones put on a strong performance in Los Angeles' last five games after Scrivens started 10 in a row between November and early December.
"It was great playing for that long stretch there," Scrivens said. "Jonesy's been on fire as of late too, so it's great to see a young guy come in and have success. He's been a big part of our team lately. That's the nature of our position, being a goalie sometimes you're the hot hand and sometimes you're not. You just have to stay sharp in practice and when you do get a chance, try to give the boys a chance to win."
It had been nearly two weeks since Scrivens was in net for the Kings, but he said the time off from games was not the reason behind his first-period woes.
"Fortunately I've been practicing so it's not like I haven't faced a shot, but they obviously came out strong," Scrivens said. "You don't want paralysis by analysis in the middle of it, but at the same time you have to find a way to make a few more saves for the guys."
First-period momentum has been big for the Kings for much of this season — that was rather apparent throughout their 18-game streak.
Head coach Darryl Sutter — in his typical fashion — made one thing clear when addressing the Kings' performance after the game: When you're chasing the Blackhawks, you're in trouble.
"Can't chase a team that's, what, 30 or 40 goals ahead of everybody in the league," he said. "Pretty tough to chase a lead. They're the Stanley Cup champions. They got their ass kicked last night (in a 7-3 loss in Toronto), and I think they weren't very happy about it. Jonathan Toews in the first period pretty much said, 'OK boys, my time here.'"
After Sunday's loss, the Kings are ready to have their time back. The streak is over. The four-game road trip is over. Now they're returning back to Staples Center, where they'll look to start a new streak all over again.
"We've got to play better and win a lot more physical battles," Kopitar said. "We definitely got outplayed, and you can't win in this league if you get outplayed that much.
"We're going home now, we have to prepare for the next one."