The Los Angeles Kings' busy playoff schedule has been a hot topic entering the Western Conference Final.
Unlike the Chicago Blackhawks, the Kings have had very little time to rest, as both of their previous series went a full seven games. And while that type of schedule is far from ideal, it's the cards the Kings were dealt.
They made the most of it during their first two series, and they weren't about to use it as an excuse for their 3-1 loss in Game 1 inside the United Center.
"I don’t think anybody was tired," said Tyler Toffoli, who scored the Kings' lone goal of the game. "It’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs and everyone is willing to do whatever it takes and push through their injuries and the fatigue. Everyone’s working hard and everyone’s doing what they can."
The Blackhawks took control right when the puck dropped on Sunday afternoon. They sustained pressure right from the start, putting the Kings to work in front of Jonathan Quick throughout the first few minutes of the game.
The Kings weren't able to generate much offensively, and it looked as if that hectic schedule may have caught up with them.
But it didn't take more than just a few minutes for them to find their legs, pick up their game and start firing shots Corey Crawford's way.
"I thought it was good energy, I thought we were rolling four lines pretty well," Anze Kopitar said. "Had some chances, but we're going to have to make it harder on their goalie."
The Kings did a pretty good job of keeping Crawford busy, especially throughout the second period.
But the Blackhawks took better advantage when given an opportunity, as two of their three goals came on a power play and a 3-on-1.
"We had a chance. We shot ourselves in the foot a bit," Mike Richards said. "Give them credit, they're an opportunistic team, but we made a couple mistakes that ended up in our net."
The Kings weren't entirely disappointed with their play, but as head coach Darryl Sutter likes to say, "an OK game isn't OK."
As they look ahead to Game 2, the Kings acknowledge that they'll have to step up their game. They'll finally get two days to catch up on some rest and hope that a chance to regroup will be what they need to tie up the series before heading back to Los Angeles.
"You have to look at tape and make adjustments," Richards said. "It's 1-0 them and we know we can play better and we're just going to have to play better next game and just bear down on our chances."