Blackhawks crash Kings’ party with 5-2 rout
LOS ANGELES — The Chicago Blackhawks raised their own Stanley Cup championship banner just two seasons ago, so their core players already know it’s tough to go back to work after a pregame party.
When the Los Angeles Kings were finished raising their banner and receiving their rings Saturday, the Blackhawks reminded the champs that what happened last year won’t help the Kings in this shortened NHL season.
Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist, Corey Crawford made 19 saves, and Chicago crashed the Kings’ Stanley Cup celebration with a 5-2 victory.
Captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who jumped to a 3-0 lead on Michael Frolik’s goal less than 15 minutes in.
With superior speed and skill, Chicago ruined the festivities shortly after the Kings hung their first championship banner in the Staples Center rafters.
“We wanted to have a good start, and whether they were going to be on their game or not didn’t really matter to us,” said Toews, the Conn Smythe Trophy-winning hero of Chicago’s 2010 title run.
“We tried not to focus on what was going on out there before the game. We were in (the locker room), just getting ready and doing our thing. We had a great first period, and when you come out in the first 20 minutes like that, you want to keep it going, and that’s what we did.”
With every player who touched the ice in last season’s playoffs returning to defend the title, the Kings received their championship rings during a stirring pregame ceremony that included each player passing the Cup around the boards. The Blackhawks didn’t watch it, but they seemed fired up from the opening faceoff.
“The season after you win the Cup, everyone is going to play their best game against the Cup champion, because that’s the game where you want to prove yourselves and make a statement,” said Kane, whose 5-on-3 goal started the rout. “So I think that’s what we were kind of feeling today.”
Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored and Jonathan Quick stopped 17 shots for the Kings, who are definitely done celebrating last season’s achievements as the first eighth-seeded playoff team to win the Stanley Cup.
Quick gave up five goals just once last season while making his first All-Star team, but he wasn’t much better than his teammates in his first game since winning the Conn Smythe Trophy and getting a 10-year, $58 million contract extension.
“You have to get used to getting knocked down and getting back up,” Quick said. “As the ceremony was going on, most of our guys were thinking about the game, but obviously you’re going to take a moment, and it’s a special moment for the team and fans.”
While the Kings learned they’ve got work to do, the Blackhawks showed why they’ve got a shot at repeating their 2010 championship run. Kane seemed particularly sharp after spending the lockout playing in Switzerland.
Hossa was the Blackhawks’ leading scorer last season, but he left his final game on a stretcher after a hit by Phoenix’s Raffi Torres, who got a 25-game suspension. The lockout was a benefit to Hossa’s recovery, and the 11-time 25-goal scorer is off to another big start.
“I haven’t played in a long time because of the concussion, so I tried to keep it simple, especially at the beginning,” Hossa said. “Nothing too fancy. They gave me short shifts and I tried to get into it. Obviously my timing is not there yet, but it’s going to come with the more games we play. My head is clear, otherwise I wouldn’t be playing if there were still some issues.”
Los Angeles began the season without two key players: Leading scorer Anze Kopitar, who hurt his knee while playing in Sweden, and defenseman Willie Mitchell, who had knee surgery.
Both players wore their uniforms and skates while participating in the pregame ceremony, but the Kings’ good pregame feelings got erased about two minutes in when Matt Greene and Trevor Lewis went to the penalty box 43 seconds apart. Los Angeles killed most of the 5-on-3, but Kane scored with 8 seconds left in the advantage.
Hossa, who set up Kane’s goal, then got credit for a score when his centering pass hit Drew Doughty’s skate and ricocheted past Quick. Just 74 seconds after that, Frolik put a pall over the celebratory crowd with the Blackhawks’ third goal on eight shots.
When Toews, who spent the week ailing with a cold, alertly scored 1:16 into the second period, a few scattered boos came down from the sellout crowd. The Kings’ defense appeared to miss Mitchell, while Kopitar’s absence has forced coach Darryl Sutter to shuffle the lines that worked so splendidly in last season’s playoffs.
“I think most people expected to be a little rusty, and both teams were,” said Scuderi, who scored midway through the second period. “We made a few mistakes, but we’re not taking it as an excuse.”
PENGUINS 3, FLYERS 1
PHILADELPHIA — Tyler Kennedy and James Neal both scored goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Philadelphia Flyers.
Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers in the first game for both teams since the end of the 113-day NHL lockout.
Chris Kunitz added an empty-netter in the final seconds for the Penguins.
Flyers fans were in playoff form, starting with the booming, derogatory chants at Sidney Crosby from the moment the Penguins captain took the ice. Crosby was held without a point in the opener, but just seeing a healthy No. 87 on the ice gives the Penguins hope big things are ahead this season.
SENATORS 4, JETS 1
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists and the Ottawa Senators spoiled the Winnipeg Jets’ home opener.
Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Chris Neil, with the game-winner in the second period, scored Ottawa’s other goals. Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Jets.
Craig Anderson stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced for the Senators, while Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec faced 37 shots.
BRUINS 3, RANGERS 1
BOSTON — Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for Boston in his first game after taking over for two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas, and the Bruins beat the New York Rangers.
Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille scored for Boston, which won the Northeast Division last year before losing in the first round of the playoffs. Rask backed up Thomas during the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup run and inherited the job when the enigmatic goalie decided to take a year off to rest.
Brad Richards scored for the Rangers on an assist from Rick Nash, the former Columbus star who was New York’s biggest acquisition over the summer. Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves for the Rangers, who finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season but lost in the conference finals to the New Jersey Devils.
MAPLE LEAFS 2, CANADIENS 1
MONTREAL — Nazem Kadri and Tyler Bozak scored power-play goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs opened the lockout-shortened NHL season with a victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Maple Leafs went 2 for 5 with the man-advantage and held Montreal to 1 for 5 on Brian Gionta’s goal — and that was the difference in a sloppily played game by both clubs.
Michael Kostka, playing his first NHL game at 27 years old, earned an assist on Kadri’s goal and was second only to fellow defenseman Dion Phaneuf in ice time for the Maple Leafs in a strong debut performance.
The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 26-22.
DEVILS 2, ISLANDERS 1
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — David Clarkson’s goal at 8:17 of the third period sent the New Jersey Devils to a season-opening win over the New York Islanders.
Travis Zajac also scored for New Jersey. Martin Brodeur stopped 18 shots to increase his NHL wins record to 657.
Travis Hamonic had New York’s goal, a power-play score at 7:12 of the third. Evgeni Nabokov made 26 saves for the Islanders.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano missed game “due to medical reasons.” The team made the announcement about 25 minutes before the game at the Nassau Coliseum. Following the loss, an Islanders spokesperson said Capuano had been admitted to Long Island Jewish Hospital and was expected to rejoin the team later this week.
LIGHTNING 6, CAPITALS 3
TAMPA, Fla. — Martin St. Louis and Eric Brewer each scored two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals. St. Louis added an assist, while Vincent Lecavalier and Cory Conacher also scored goals for the Lightning.
Joel Ward scored twice and Wojtek Wolski also had a goal for the Capitals, who lost in Adam Oates’ NHL coaching debut.
St. Louis’ drive from above the left circle during a 5-on-3 power play gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 advantage at 4:47 of the third. Conacher, who had an assist in first NHL game, scored his first goal to extend the lead to 5-3 with 6:36 to go. Brewer scored his second goal late in the third.
PANTHERS 5, HURRICANES 1
SUNRISE, Fla. — Jonathan Huberdeau’s first NHL shot resulted in his first NHL goal and opened an early Florida scoring barrage, as the Panthers unfurled their Southeast Division championship banner and went on to ease past the Carolina Hurricanes.
Jose Theodore stopped 41 shots for Florida. Huberdeau finished with a goal and two assists, as did linemate Alex Kovalev, who’s played in 1,302 more games than the highly touted rookie forward.
Defenseman Bryan Campbell scored twice for the Panthers, who matched a franchise record with four first-period goals — more than they posted in any period of any game since Dec. 17, 2010.
BLUES 6, RED WINGS 0
ST. LOUIS — Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice in his NHL debut and Chris Stewart also had a pair of goals to help the St. Louis Blues manhandle the Detroit Red Wings.
Coach Ken Hitchcock, general manager Doug Armstrong and goalies Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott posed at center ice with postseason trophies earned from last season’s Central Division championship team shortly before the opening faceoff. A standing room crowd of 20,035 roared throughout the opener.
There was a moment of silence in tribute to Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial before the third period.
BLUE JACKETS 3, PREDATORS 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of a shootout, and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Nashville Predators for their fifth win to start a season and a very rare win over their Central Division foe.
Columbus had not won an opener since Oct. 3, 2009, against Minnesota, and the Blue Jackets had won only once in Nashville in the previous 20 games. They needed overtime to do that 4-3 on Nov. 19, 2011.
Artem Anisimov, acquired in the trade that sent Rick Nash to the Rangers, scored on a backhand over Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in the second round of the shootout.
David Legwand scored on a backhand in the third round to tie it up and extend the shootout. That was it before Brassard scored under Rinne’s glove hand. Colin Wilson had a chance to tie it up, but Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky got his right foot out for the save and the win.
STARS 4, COYOTES 3
DALLAS — Jaromir Jagr scored two goals and assisted on the game-winner in his Dallas debut, and the Stars opened the shortened season with a victory against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Jagr, the NHL’s active leader in goals, assists and points, had a hand in all four goals for Dallas. Ray Whitney, Phoenix’s leading scorer last season, scored a goal in the first game against his former team.
Loui Eriksson broke a 3-all tie when he took a pass from Jagr in the slot and beat Mike Smith. The sequence started with a turnover by Phoenix’s Martin Hanzal, and Jagr grabbed the rebound in the corner after a hard shot by Derek Roy.
Radim Vrbata scored twice for the Coyotes.
WILD 4, AVALANCHE 2
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Dany Heatley had two power-play goals on assists from new teammate Zach Parise, and the offense-enhanced Minnesota Wild surged into their much-anticipated season with a victory.
Mikael Granlund also scored for the Wild in his first NHL appearance, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a late goal in his first game in more than a year to help make the amped-up crowd of 19,298 forget all about the 119-day lockout that delayed the opener by 3½ months.
John Mitchell scored early in his debut for the Avalanche and Cody McLeod cut the lead to one with 14:51 remaining in the game, but they were done in during a penalty-ridden second period that had goalie Semyon Varmalov on his heels.
DUCKS 7, CANUCKS 3
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Teemu Selanne had two goals and two assists to help make Cory Schneider’s first season-opening start a short one as Anaheim thumped Vancouver.
Daniel Winnik added two goals for the Ducks while Sheldon Souray, Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri also scored. Jonas Hiller made 26 saves.
Schneider was pulled after allowing goals to Perry and Palmieri 11 seconds apart early in the second period that capped a trio of Anaheim goals about three minutes apart. Winnik started the scoring spree with his second of the game.
Schneider, who signed a three-year, $12 million contract last summer, allowed five goals on 14 shots.
Roberto Luongo, who was expected to be traded after he was replaced as Vancouver’s starter in last spring’s playoffs, stopped 10 of 12 shots in relief.
Dan Hamhuis, Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler scored for Vancouver.
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