The Kings entered Monday's game against the Blackhawks coming off two shut out losses. Chicago was the second leg of a five-game road trip that included a visit to the White House to honor their Stanley Cup victory.
The Blackhawks spoiled Los Angeles' home opener--also their banner-raising ceremony for winning the 2012 Stanley Cup--and went on to defeat them again in February.
The Kings had plenty of reason to fight Monday night in Chicago. And that's just what they did.
"It was a dangerous game for us," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said following his team's 5-4 loss. "[The Kings] got shutout two games in a row. They’re going to be hungry, they’re going to try to get the scrappy goals that they got. But we didn’t respond to the challenge that was there tonight and I was disappointed with how we played and what we gave them."
Despite earning the win, the Kings weren't all that happy with their performance, either. Both teams were sloppy and the Kings felt their win didn't reflect their highest potential.
"We definitely worked hard, but I still don't think we played well," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We've played this Chicago team three times now and we haven't shown them the real way we can play. We weren't happy about that, but the main thing is we got the win, and that's all that matters."
Although the Blackhawks' record-breaking point streak has disappeared, the target on their back hasn't. They're still atop the Western Conference standings and opponents still have a strong desire to beat the team that has been on top all year.
"We wanted to beat them pretty badly," Doughty said. "We dropped the last two to them, so we were upset about that. Every time you play a team at the top of the standings, you want to beat them. We were hungry for the win tonight."
"I think we worked hard," Kings captain Dustin Brown added. "We didn’t get discouraged coming into this, this is a hard building to play in. [The Blackhawks are] the best team in the league."
Although the Blackhawks were far from happy after the game, they remain focused on Tuesday's matchup with the Calgary Flames.
"We knew [the Kings] are a good team and it was going to be a good test for us," Patrick Kane said. "I think we’ll be probably better prepared for tomorrow."