The Blackhawks were undefeated at home this postseason entering Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.
And throughout the first 38 minutes of Wednesday's matchup against the Los Angeles Kings, it looked as though they'd be retaining that record.
Up 2-0 near the end of the second period, Kris Versteeg set Brent Seabook up in front of Kings' net on a 2-on-1 play, and the Blackhawks were just inches from a three-goal lead. But Jonathan Quick did that that thing he does quite often and kept his team in the game.
It was after that play that everything changed.
"The way it turned on a dime like that, don’t know if we’ve seen a game like that all year where we’re doing everything right and then all of a sudden it was a disaster," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Kings capitalized on the momentum they got off that play by Quick, and Justin Williams found the back of the net shortly thereafter.
Then so did Jeff Carter. And Jake Muzzin. And Tyler Toffoli. Then Carter scored twice more to complete his hat trick.
Before anyone knew it, the Kings had dealt the Blackhawks a proverbial punch to the face. And with that came a message from the Kings before both teams head back to Staples Center for Games 3 and 4.
"We know we can win, that's the bottom line," Jarret Stoll said. "Yeah, they got a good team, but we feel we do too."
The Kings were able to cut the Blackhawks' lead in half before the second period came to a close. Entering the locker room at second intermission, the visiting team was feeling confident, and that showed in just about as obvious of a manner possible throughout the final 20 minutes of the game.
"We knew the third period was going to be our best period of this series so far," Drew Doughty said. "We were just adamant in here about coming out and getting pressure and getting a goal early, and we did that."
They sure did.
For the first time in a while, the Blackhawks faced a "disaster" of a period — Patrick Sharp said "it's time to file this one and learn from it."
But after the struggles they've faced throughout the last two regular- and postseasons against the Blackhawks, the Kings are ready to reverse the narrative. They want to make this matchup a true rivalry and hope their third-period performance can give them a boost in confidence going forward.
"I think this is a huge game for our approach, I guess, our psyche. Kind of like slaying the mythical dragon," captain Dustin Brown said. "We've been dominated by this team over and over last couple of years. To come in here and get a win in their building with the type of home record they have, I think gives us a boost in confidence."
The Kings aren't ready to take their foot off the gas pedal; they're hungry for more. They still feel that final period wasn't their best hockey, and now they look to bring that against the defending champions throughout the remainder of the series.
But they realize that in order to do that, they're going to have to be ready for a Blackhawks team that wants to prove itself after a rough Game 2.
"We have to be ready in Game 3 because I'm sure they're not a very happy hockey club right now," Stoll said. "So we have to be ready for that and have our own push at the start of Game 3 and show them that we mean business, too."