Continuing their struggles of late, the Los Angeles Kings had arguably their worst game of the stretch Thursday night, losing 5-2 to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Things started off well for the Kings, with Anze Kopitar seemingly opening the scoring just 2:33 into the game.
But, that goal was pulled back after a coaches challenge that showed Kopitar entered the zone offside.
Then, just 21 seconds later Phil Kessel opened the scoring for real, putting the Knights up 1-0 under three minutes in.
The Kings were stunned by the swing in momentum and couldn't recover, going down 2-0 less than a minute later off the back of an Ivan Barbashev goal.
Fast forward just over two minutes later and it was 3-0, after Chandler Stephenson finish with a nifty move in front.
Zack MacEwen tried to get the Kings back into the game with some physical play but crossed the line. He buried Ben Hutton after a center-ice faceoff, earning himself a five minute major for boarding and eating a few punches from Nicolas Hauge.
On the ensuing power play, the Kings went down 4-0 after a Nicolas Roy goal.
The Kings looked disjointed and gassed. Unable to handle being punched in the mouth by an early Vegas onslaught.
It was one of the worst periods the Kings have played in a long time and marked the first game Joonas Korpisalo has given up more than two goals.
The second period didn't start any better for the Kings. Adrian Kempe and Kopitar couldn't connect on a simple outlet pass and Jonathan Marchessault buried on a careless defensive zone turnover.
This goal also ended Korpisalo's night and saw the introduction of Pheonix Copley.
Not long after entering the game Copley was put to the test. Kessel got a clean breakaway, looking for his second of the night, but Copley turned it aside.
Copley stabilized things and the Kings started getting back into the game a bit.
Kopitar got them on the board with a power-play goal just over halfway in and Vladislav Gavrikov cut the lead to three with a shorthanded goal a few minutes later.
The Kings comeback would stop there though, with neither team finding the back of the net in the third.
Alex Pietrangelo did fire a one-timer past Copley, but the play was called back for offside.
It's been a tough week for the Kings, losing to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday and following that up with an big defeat to the Golden Knights Thursday.
Dropping two games to division rivals just before playoffs isn't ideal, but it's not time to hit the panic button yet. The Kings are without a few key players and had an off night. It happens.
The team needs to reset and get ready for the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. A last three games will give the Kings plenty of momentum heading into the postseason.
They've lost control of their destiny and are all but stuck in third place, without home ice advantage, but can't dwell on that now.