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Blackhawks drop season opener 4-3 to Flyers in Global Series

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Patrick Kane has three-point game in Chicago’s first opening loss since 2015.

2019 NHL Global Series Challenge Prague - Chicago Blackhawks v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Patrick Kane scored a goal and had two assists in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 season-opening loss to the Flyers on Friday at 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.

Kane tied former teammate Dustin Byfuglien for the most NHL points in Europe with seven. Kane had a goal and an assist in each game against the Panthers back in 2009 in Helsinki, Finland.

Travis Konecny scored twice for the Flyers, and Carter Hart made 28 saves. With Philadelphia being the home team in the game, Chicago’s regular-season skid against the Flyers is now at 16 games since Nov. 9, 1996.

Alex Nylander scored in his Blackhawks debut and Alex DeBrincat netted a power play goal. Erik Gustafsson had two assists. Corey Crawford was under siege often and stopped 34 of 38 shots.

Konecny put the Flyers up 1-0 just 6:24 into the game, when he intercepted Dennis Gilbert’s pass to David Kampf at the blue line then skated up to the left faceoff circle and ripped a shot by Crawford’s glove.

Nylander answered less than 90 seconds later when he grabbed a Kane pass in the neutral zone and moved into the offensive zone then sent a wrist shot past Hart’s glove to tie it at 1-1.

Chicago’s third line nearly took the lead with a prime scoring chance after back-to-back backhanded passes from David Kampf and Brandon Saad found Dominik Kubalik in the slot, but Hart snagged the shot with his glove.

The Flyers regained the lead 6:28 into the second when Oskar Lindblom’s snap shot bounced off the crossbar then redirected off Slater Koekkoek’s chest and into the an open net.

Andrew Shaw had a chance to level the game with a breakaway opportunity, but Hart stopped his shot. DeBrincat crashed the net as he tried to knock in a rebound and a scrum ensued that saw Shaw head off for cross-checking. Just seconds into the man advantage Claude Giroux slashed David Kampf’s stick to make it 4-on-4.

Konecny took advantage and dangled around Duncan Keith then lifted a backhand into the top corner of the net for a 3-1 Flyers lead with 1:56 remaining in the period.

DeBrincat halted Philadelphia’s momentum with 12.2 seconds left in the frame with a one-timer from the slot on the power play off a Kane feed.

In the third period, Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton shook up the forward lines and defensive pairings by moving Drake Caggiula up to the first line and pairing Keith with Koekkoek and Gilbert with Gustafsson.

Raffl regained the two-goal lead for the Flyers at 9:48 of the third when he beat Keith around the boards and circled behind the net then ripped a backhander past Crawford.

With Crawford pulled for an extra attacker, Kane capped his three-point night with a wrist shot through traffic with 2:07 remaining in the game.

Injuries

The Blackhawks were without defensemen Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy (groin). Both practiced with the team in Europe and should be available for the team’s seven-game homestand, which begins next week.

Other notes

It’s the Blackhawks’ first season-opening loss since 2015 when they fell to the Rangers during their banner-raising night... Nylander is the first Blackhawk to score the team’s first goal in his debut since Artemi Panarin in 2015... Chicago was terrible on faceoffs, going 38 percent with centers Jonathan Toews (5-for-15), Dylan Strome (3-for-9), David Kampf (4-for-12) and Ryan Carpenter (2-for-5)... Wingers Andrew Shaw (1-for-2) and Zack Smith (1-for-3) also saw time at the dot. Chicago’s second line of DeBrincat, Strome and Shaw were on ice for a team-best 12 shots for and seven against, according to Natural Stat Trick... The first line of Nylander, Toews and Kane, however, were on ice for a team-worst six shots for and 17 against.

Game charts

Puck possession flow chart
Natural Stat Trick
Shot heat map
Natural Stat Trick

Three stars

1. Travis Konecny (PHI) — 2 goals

2. Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists

3. Michael Raffl (PHI) — 1 goal

What’s next?

The Blackhawks fly back to Chicago on Sunday before hosting their home opener against the Sharks on Thursday at the United Center.