The St. Louis Blues scored three power-play goals to skate to a 5-2 win in a rematch of last spring’s first-round postseason series over the Chicago Blackhawks on opening night Wednesday at the United Center.
Vladimir Tarasenko continued his dominance against Chicago with two goals and an assist, Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny each added a goal and two assists, and Patrik Berglund also scored for the visitors.
Richard Panik tallied the first Hawks goal of the season on the man advantage for a 1-0 lead at the 4:38 mark of the first period. Panik battled in front of the net against Blues defenseman Colton Parayko before Jonathan Toews fired a shot that set up the rebound.
The Blues struck on a power play of their own at 4:52 of the second period. Shattenkirk blasted a shot from the blue line past Corey Crawford, who was unfortunately screened by veteran defenseman Brian Campbell.
Rookie Ryan Hartman gave the Hawks the lead again with his first NHL career goal. The 2013 first-round pick kept the puck in the Blues’ end, then fired a shot to the net, which fellow rookie Tyler Motte picked up and found Hartman, who put it past Jake Allen for a 2-1 lead.
Then the Hawks started using the penalty box like a revolving door.
Jonathan Toews was sent off for slashing with 2:06 left in the second, Artem Anisimov got called for hooking and defenseman Duncan Keith received a high-sticking penalty at 19:28. All three penalties occurred in a span of 1:34.
Tarasenko scored on a 5-on-3 advantage in the final minute of the second and Stastny added another 55 seconds into the third period. Tarasenko would add second goal on an empty-netter with less than three minutes to play.
Allen made 17 saves to earn the win in net for the Blues while Crawford made 29 stops in the loss.
The Hawks had seven new players in the lineup, including five rookies: forwards Hartman, Motte, Vincent Hinostroza, and Nick Schmaltz and defenseman Gustav Forsling. Czech blueliner Michal Kempny also made his NHL debut, but due to his time in the KHL and his age of 26 is no considered a rookie. Campbell made his return to the Hawks after leaving Chicago following the 2010-11 season.
Quenneville postgame on the rookies pic.twitter.com/iVJ2bw7PF6— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) October 13, 2016
Chicago was without defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who served a one-game suspension for a hit against the Blues’ Ty Rattie in preseason. With Hjalmarsson out, the Hawks turned to Trevor van Riemsdyk to be paired with Duncan Keith.
But that wasn’t the only line shake ups coach Joel Quenneville did as he grouped Motte, Hinostroza, and Hartman together in the third in hopes to generate a spark. The Rock Vegas line forced a power play, but the Hawks were unable to cashed in.
The Hawks return to action at 7 p.m. Friday against divisional foe Nashville.