CHICAGO (AP) — Richard Panik scored three goals for his first NHL hat trick, Scott Darling was sharp in making 33 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks earned their first victory of the season, 5-3 over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
Nick Schmaltz, one of four rookies in Chicago’s lineup, scored his first NHL goal and Brent Seabrook added a power-play score and an assist as the Blackhawks rebounded from a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Friday. Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith each had two assists.
Colin Wilson, Craig Smith and Viktor Arvidsson scored for the Predators.
Nashville trailed 3-0 after Schmaltz, Seabrook and Panik scored in a 3:43 span in the first period, and could never pull even in this one.
The Predators outshot Chicago 36-27 and dominated in stretches, but were stymied by Darling in the backup goalie’s first start this season.
Nashville backup Marek Mazanec had 22 saves after Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of 24 Friday.
The Blackhawks scored on three of their first five shots to take a 3-0 lead and led by two after the first period as Darling stopped 15 of 16 Nashville attempts, including several nifty saves on point-blank chances.
Schmaltz opened the scoring 6:36 in when he plowed to the net off the left boards and beat Mazanec on the short side with a rising shot.
Seabrook’s power-play goal 1:43 later — from a faceoff and just 6 seconds into the advantage — made it 2-0. His shot from the right point deflected in off the stick of Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm.
Panik extended it to 3-0 at 10:19 when he drove to the net against defenseman Matt Carle, pivoted in front and slid in a backhander.
Wilson cut it to 3-1 with 1:29 left in the first by poking in a rebound of James Neal’s shot to complete a 3-on-1 break.
Darling came up with two of his best saves, close-in pad stops on Smith and Wilson seconds apart, with just over five minutes left in the second.
From a faceoff and 6 seconds into a power play, Smith cut it to 3-2 on shot from the right circle with 1:16 left in the period.
Set up by Marian Hossa’s pinpoint pass, Panik tapped in his second goal, on a power-play at 4:56 of the second to make it 4-2. But Arvidsson drove to the net, outworked Chicago defenseman Brian Campbell at cut it to 4-3 at 10:06.
Panik iced it when he completed his hat trick with 1:31 left after he was set up at the side of the net by Kane.
NOTES: Blackhawks rookie F Ryan Hartman, who left Friday’s game in the first period after blocking a shot by P.K. Subban, missed Saturday’s contest and is out day-to-day. “It’s positive news as far as the extent of the injury,” coach Joel Quenneville said. Dennis Rasmussen took his place in the lineup. … Chicago D Trevor van Riemsdyk was a healthy scratch for the second straight contest after playing in all 82 games last season. … Nashville D Anthony Bitetto sat out with an upper-body injury. The Predators Miikka Salomaki suffered an upper-body in the second period and did not return. … Although the announced United Center crowd of 21,665 was the Blackhawks’ 375th consecutive sellout, pockets of seats were empty as the Cubs hosted the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS.
Predators: Host the defending Western Conference champion Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.