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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 06, 2017 8:20 pm

NHL

Blackhawks score 10, rout Penguins

Associated Press

CHICAGO – Brandon Saad scored three times in his return to Chicago and Ryan Hartman had a goal and four assists, helping the Blackhawks pound the Pittsburgh Penguins 10-1 on Thursday night.

Nick Schmaltz added two goals and an assist as Chicago kicked off its season in style with a runaway victory against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Patrick Kane also had a goal and three assists in the Blackhawks’ highest scoring game since a 10-1 win against Winnipeg on Oct. 12, 1988.

Pittsburgh was coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to St. Louis in its season opener on Wednesday, and it looked every bit like a team on the second half of back-to-back nights. Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots in his Penguins debut, forcing Matt Murray to come in after he took the loss against the Blues.

Sidney Crosby found Phil Kessel for a power-play goal at 2:05 of the second period, but Chicago already had a 5-0 lead. It was the most goals allowed by Pittsburgh since a 10-8 loss to San Jose on Jan. 13, 1996.

The Blackhawks won the Central Division last season and finished with the most points in the Western Conference. But they were swept by Nashville in their second consecutive first-round loss, leading to a flurry of moves by admittedly angry general manager Stan Bowman.

On Thursday night, Hartman set a career high for points and assists in a game in Chicago’s highest-scoring opener, topping an 8-6 victory at Nashville on Oct. 5, 2006. Patrick Sharp also scored in his return to Chicago after signing a team-friendly, one-year deal with the Blackhawks in the offseason.

RED WINGS 4, WILD 2: In Detroit, Henrik Zetterberg and Martin Frk scored in the third period to lift Detroit past Minnesota in the first regular-season game at Little Caesars Arena.

Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin scored 23 seconds apart in the second period for the Red Wings, who rallied after blowing a 2-0 lead early in the third. Joel Eriksson Ek and Chris Stewart scored 48 seconds apart to tie it, and then Zetterberg put Detroit back ahead to stay with 12:53 remaining.

The Red Wings said goodbye to Joe Louis Arena in April and moved to a new downtown venue they’ll share with the Detroit Pistons.

Even before the opening faceoff, fans were already partaking in that old Detroit tradition of tossing octopi on the ice.