Published January 23, 2013
| Sports Network
Chicago, IL – Viktor Stalberg's third-period goal proved to be the difference, as the Blackhawks held off the St. Louis Blues, 3-2, on Tuesday in Chicago's home opener at United Center.
Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook each scored once and Corey Crawford saved 32 shots for the Blackhawks, who improved to 3-0-0 for the first time since the 1972-73 campaign.
"I thought we had great pace to start the game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had some quickness and our transition was very effective early."
Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie tallied a goal apiece, while Brian Elliot allowed all three goals on 26 shots in the setback, St. Louis' first of the season after opening the year with back-to-back wins.
"That wasn't the team we're capable of being. It took us a while to get going," McDonald said. "I just think we didn't manage the puck well and didn't make the plays that we're normally capable of making."
Kane opened the scoring at the 7:20 mark of the contest when the Blackhawks broke in on Elliot on a 3-on-none rush. Kane received the puck on the left wing and dished it to Patrick Sharp in the slot before taking the return feed and beating Elliot on the backhand for a 1-0 lead.
Seabrook then added a power-play tally in the second to double Chicago's advantage. Duncan Keith fired a one-timer from the point that deflected off Seabrook skating through the slot and snuck past Elliot for a 2-0 edge at the 8:21 mark.
Chicago added to its lead early in the third when Stalberg ripped a wrister from the right circle that beat Elliot to the short side to make it 3-0 at the 2:09 mark.
St. Louis answered just over two minutes later to trim the margin to two. Kevin Shattenkirk carried it down the right wing and made a short pass to Alexander Steen. Steen then faked a slapper before sliding a pass across the slot to McDonald, who one-timed a shot past Crawford to bring St. Louis with 3-1 at the 2:09 mark of the third.
The Blues cut the deficit in half later in the third while on the power play. David Perron fired a shot from the left circle that Crawford padded away, but Oshie retrieved the rebound below the right circle and rifled the puck into the back of the net to make it 3-2 at the 14:53 mark.
St. Louis threatened again with a late flurry after Elliot left the net in favor of the extra attacker, but Crawford stood tall between the pipes to keep the Blues off the board and send the Blackhawks to victory.
"When the game was on the line, [Crawford] was big," Quenneville remarked. "His saves were very, very timely."
The Blackhawks have won eight straight and 10 of their last 11 at home versus the Blues ... Steen, playing in his 500th NHL game, finished with one assist ... St. Louis went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Chicago finished 1-for-3 on the man advantage.