Jonathan Toews won the first significant puck battle of the game, fed Marian Hossa in front and the veteran winger buried it—all while the Blackhawks were shorthanded.
Just like that, the defending Stanley Cup champions had answered questions of how they would respond following one of their worst outings of the season and how they would start against a team that hadn’t allowed a first-period goal in 18 games.
The early sequence propelled the Hawks to an impressive 3-1 victory over a Kings team that came into the game red-hot and left it wondering what hit them Sunday night at the United Center.
Hossa, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp provided the offense as the defending Stanley Cup champions handed the Kings just their second loss in regulation in their last 19 contests in front of a crowd of 21,426.
Rookie goaltender Antti Raanta provided a look into his ability to rebound from a rough outing with a 21-save effort a night after being yanked for allowing five goals on 25 shots during a 7-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Ben Scrivens suffered the loss in goal for the Kings as only Alec Martinez found the back of the net against a stifling Hawks defense. Los Angeles had its six-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 13-2-4 over its last 19.
Scratches for the Hawks were Michael Kostka, Jeremy Morin and Corey Crawford. Sitting for the Kings were Willie Mitchell, Matt Frattin and Linden Vey.