The Chicago Blackhawks had not played a hockey game in nearly six months.
That long, long wait was ended in style at the United Center on Thursday night, with the Hawks torching old teammate Antti Niemi for four goals in the first 9:16 of the 2017-18 season.
It started with a highlight-reel-worthy play from Patrick Kane: a blind, backhand pass that fooled everyone in a Pittsburgh uniform but set up Ryan Hartman for an easy tap-in.
Hey, remember Brandon Saad? He scored the second goal at the 7:06 mark of the first, burying a rebound after a 2-on-1 with Richard Panik.
Nice turnover by Sidney Crosby to spring the odd-man rush, too.
As for Kane, he wasn’t done. His trademark spin-o-rama opened up a passing lane for a one-timer into the net by linemate Nick Schmaltz.
Schmaltz’s goal was 28 seconds after Saad’s first goal. Saad’s second goal came 1:42 later, as he corralled a rebound and slid the puck into an open side of the net.
Four goals in 2:55 against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. In case you were wondering if that was some sort of team record: it’s not. But it’s close.
The Blackhawks' 4 goals were scored in 2 minutes, 55 seconds.— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) October 6, 2017
The team record is 1:56 and was done vs. St. Louis on 12/20/89.
That explosive start was one way for the Blackhawks to make a distant memory out of last season’s bitter end.
Chicago has already scored more goals in 1 period this season than in the 2017 Playoffs.— Ian McLaren (@iancmclaren) October 6, 2017