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.
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.
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.