The young Chicago Blackhawks are still experiencing some growing pains. They may need to get over them quickly as they begin a road-heavy stretch of games.
Chicago visits the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday looking to earn a split of their home-and home series.
The Blackhawks (19-15-3) play 15 of their next 20 games away from the United Center, a stretch that lasts through mid-February and begins with a three-game trip starting Tuesday. The Blackhawks, 7-6-2 away from home, have played the fewest road games in the NHL.
Chicago will be looking to bounce back Tuesday after their four-game winning streak was snapped with 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings on Sunday. The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead early in the third period on goals by rookies Jonathan Toews and Jacob Dowell, but couldn't protect it.
Dustin Brown scored 33 seconds after Dowell did, and Kyle Calder tied it with a power-play goal at the 7:28 mark. Brown scored his second goal of the game 3:31 into overtime.
"What happened tonight is we just didn't have enough experience after taking the lead," Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin said.
The Blackhawks had one of the league's worst records last season, but have made big strides in 2007-08 thanks to some talented young players. Toews leads all rookies with 15 goals and is second to teammate Patrick Kane in points (36) among first-year players.
On Sunday, Chicago had its first-round draft picks of the last five years - Kane (2007), Toews ('06), Jack Skille ('05), Cam Barker ('04) and Brent Seabrook ('03) - on the ice. Coach Denis Savard said the next few weeks should be telling as he watches his young team try to handle the tough stretch.
"We've got to continue playing the way we have," he said. "We've got to bring that energy on the road. It's tougher to win on the road, but sometimes you keep your game plan more intact when you're on the road."
Sunday's victory was the Kings' second straight after an eight-game losing streak - their longest stretch without a win since the 2003-04 season. Los Angeles, owner of the NHL's worst record, hasn't won three straight since a four-game run at the end of October.
"It feels real good," Calder said. "It was tough there for eight games and it's not what you want to go through, but the team stuck together."
The Kings (14-24-2), who beat Colorado 3-1 on Saturday with three goals in the third period, outshot Chicago 36-32 on Sunday - 15-7 in the final 20 minutes.
"Our goal is to wear down other teams," said Brown, whose 18th goal of the season is a career high. "The last two wins we came back in the third and wore on teams."
After playing five of six on the road, Los Angeles is opening a season-high six-game homestand. The Kings, though, have lost three straight at home and are 8-12-1 at Staples Center this season.
Los Angeles lost both home games against Chicago last season, one in overtime and the other in a shootout. The Kings had won three consecutive home matchups and five of seven against the Blackhawks prior to 2006-07.