St. Louis at Chicago

Tarasenko helps Blues top Blackhawks 5-2 in opener

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STATS/AP

CHICAGO (AP) St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock got what he needed from his top players, and that was more than enough on opening night.

Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist, and the Blues kicked off the season with a solid 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

''The guys that have been around did a number today,'' Hitchcock said. ''The guys that have been here before and know what it's like to play in this building, know what it's like to play against Chicago, they played really well today.''

Kevin Shattenkirk and Paul Stastny each had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who eliminated the Blackhawks in seven games in the first round of the playoffs in April. Jake Allen had 17 saves in his first game since he was handed the lead goaltending job with Brian Elliott's June trade to Calgary.

St. Louis went 3 for 5 on the power play.

''I think that last two days in practice really helped us find our groove,'' said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who took over as captain after David Backes signed with Boston in the offseason. ''We kept it simple, try not to be overly complicated. We've got a lot of guys who can shoot the puck. The big thing is putting the puck toward the net.''

Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman scored for Chicago, which struggled in the second period. Corey Crawford finished with 29 saves.

The Blackhawks had five rookies in the starting lineup, and four players made their NHL debut. And they looked out of sync for much of the night.

''There's definitely some learning going on,'' coach Joel Quenneville said. ''We'll accept mistakes through hard work, because that's how you get better.''

Hartman put Chicago in front 2-1 with his first NHL goal at 13:57 of the second, but the Blackhawks were whistled for three penalties in a span of 1:34 late in the second. Captain Jonathan Toews was sent off for slashing with 2:06 left in the period, veteran center Artem Anisimov got called for hooking and defenseman Duncan Keith received a high-sticking penalty at 19:28.

During the delay after the call on Keith, Tarasenko tied it at 2 with a wrist shot that beat Crawford on the goaltender's stick side. The 24-year-old Tarasenko set career highs with 40 goals and 74 points last season.

''He's proven to be a big-time player and obviously these games mean so much to us,'' Shattenkirk said. ''He is someone who just shows up in those big games.''

Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook saved a goal when he swept a bouncing puck off the line late in the second. But the Blues went ahead to stay on Stastny's power-play goal 55 seconds into the third off a rebound from Tarasenko's shot.

Chicago had two power-play opportunities in the third, but it was turned away each time. Tarasenko then finished off the Blackhawks with an empty-netter with 1:06 remaining, and Scottie Upshall was credited with a second empty-netter on what looked like an own-goal for Chicago.

''We didn't do a whole lot of what we wanted to,'' Toews said. ''Our energy, our speed and our work ethic wasn't quite there. We've got to regroup and try to come with that energy in that next one, and play a little bit smarter, too.''

NOTES: RW Nail Yakupov played 10 1/2 minutes for the Blues. He was acquired in a trade with Edmonton on Friday. ... Blackhawks winger Marian Hossa remains stuck on 499 career goals. He assisted on Panik's goal in the first. ... Blackhawks D Niklas Hjalmarsson completed his suspension for charging Blues forward Ty Rattie during a preseason game on Oct. 1. D Michal Rozsival and C Dennis Rasmussen also were scratched. ... St. Louis scratched Rattie, D Carl Gunnarsson and LW Magnus Paajarvi. ... Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles got a standing ovation when she was shown on the videoboard during the first period. She acknowledged the cheering crowd with a wave.

UP NEXT

Blues: Host Minnesota on Thursday night.

Blackhawks: Visit Nashville on Friday and then host the Predators on Saturday night.

---

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
Scoreboard
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Chicago 

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
04:38Power Play - Richard Panik (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Toews, Hossa
2ND PERIOD
04:52Power Play - Kevin Shattenkirk (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Pietrangelo, Steen
13:57 - Ryan Hartman (1), Backhand Shot. Assist: Motte, Kruger
19:28Power Play - Vladimir Tarasenko (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Stastny, Shattenkirk
3RD PERIOD
55.0Power Play - Paul Stastny (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Tarasenko, Shattenkirk
18:54 - Vladimir Tarasenko (2), Empty Net. Assist: Stastny, Steen
19:41 - Scottie Upshall (1), Empty Net, Unassisted.
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
03:31Fabbri, 2 min, Slashing
18:39Parayko, 2 min, Holding
2ND PERIOD
03:01van Riemsdyk, 2 min, Hooking
17:54Toews, 2 min, Slashing
18:31Anisimov, 2 min, Hooking
19:28Keith, 2 min, High sticking
3RD PERIOD
01:31van Riemsdyk, 2 min, Boarding
06:22Berglund, 2 min, High sticking
09:52Brodziak, 2 min, Roughing
Shots On Goal
 123T
STL915933
CHI631019
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jake Allen60:00172
Corey Crawford57:53293
Game Information
Attendance - 21729
Referees - Jon McIsaac, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Devin Berg, Ryan Galloway
 
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CGY   10:00
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LA   10:30
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