After a 113-day lockout, the NHL finally returned to the ice on Saturday, but it was not the start the defending champions had hoped for as Chicago crashed the Kings’ Stanley Cup celebrations with a 5-2 victory.
Marian Hossa had two goals and an assist, Corey Crawford made 19 saves, while 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.
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 pre-game ceremony that included each player passing the Cup around the boards. The Blackhawks did not watch it, but they seemed fired up from the opening face-off.
Rob Scuderi and Jordan Nolan scored, while 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.
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 minute, 16 seconds into the second period, a few scattered boos came down from the sellout crowd.
In Boston, Tuukka Rask stopped 20 shots for Boston in his first game after taking over for two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas as the Bruins beat the New York Rangers 3-1.
Milan Lucic and Daniel Paille scored for Boston, who won the Northeast Division last season before losing in the first round of the playoffs.
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.
In Vancouver, Teemu Selanne had two goals and two assists to help the Anaheim Ducks thump the Vancouver Canucks 7-3.
Daniel Winnik added two goals for the Ducks, while Sheldon Souray, Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri also scored.
In Sunrise, Florida, Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and two assists on his NHL debut and Brian Campbell scored twice in a first-period frenzy as the Florida Panthers opened the defense of their Southeast Division title with a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
In Nashville, Tennessee, Derick Brassard scored in the sixth round of a shootout as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Nashville Predators 3-2, while the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals 6-3 at home.
Also on Saturday, David Clarkson’s goal at 8:17 of the third period sent the New Jersey Devils to a 2-1 season-opening win over the New York Islanders, while Tyler Kennedy and James Neal both scored goals to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1.
In other games, the Toronto Maple Leafs had a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, the Dallas Stars opened with a 4-3 victory against the Phoenix Coyotes, the St Louis Blues thrashed the Detroit Red Wings 6-0, the Ottawa Senators beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 and the Minnesota Wild saw off the Colorado Avalanche 4-2.