Blackhawks wrap up the Opening Night hat trick with home opener win to go 3-0-0

Chicago Blackhawks 1/22/2013 - photo by Cheryl Adams/HockeyBroad

The Chicago Blackhawks completed the Opening Night hat trick, securing their their win in a row in the third home opener they participated in -- this time, on home ice at the United Center in Chicago.

Before an opening night crowd of 21,455 - the largest opening night crowd in the NHL this season - the Blackhawks had a 3-0 lead and it looked like they might get their first shut out in nearly two years. However, St. Louis managed a late rally, scoring twice in the third period, to keep the game close. 

Patrick Kane started the scoring at 7:20 into the first period. It was another 21 minutes before anyone would tally again; this time it was a Duncan Keith shot that deflected off Brent Seabrook's skate and past goalie Brian Elliott. Viktor Stalberg's goal early in the third made it 3-0.

The Blues began to play with more desperation and pressure in the third, and finally they broke the shut out with Andy McDonald's goal past Corey Crawford. Persistence from the Blues led to a PPG with just over five minutes left in the game, and St. Louis kept Chicago in their own zone for the rest of the game.

Over the past two seasons, the Blackhawks have often taken their foot off the gas when they've had a good lead, occasionally leading to losses. While they didn't fully let their foot off the Blues' necks on Tuesday night, they let up just enough for St. Louis to surge back into the game.

The Blackhawks now take a 3-0-0 record - and sole posession of the league lead - on the road to Dallas (Thursday) and Columbus (Saturday). It is the first time that the Blackhawks have opened 3-0-0 since the 1972-1973 season.

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Final score: Blackhawks 3, Blues 2

CHI goals: Kane, Seabrook (PPG), Viktor Stalberg (GWG)
STL goals: McDonald, Oshie (PPG)

Three stars:
3) Duncan Keith - CHI
2) Andy McDonald - STL
1) Patrick Kane - CHI

Winning goalie: Corey Crawford, 2 GAA / 0.941 sv%
Losing goalie: Brian Elliott, 3 GAA / 0.889 sv%

Next game: Thursday 1/24 at Dallas Stars, American Airlines Center, Dallas

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