Set to open the season playing 10 of their first 12 on the road, the Chicago Blackhawks knew a slow start would put them in a major hole.
A healthy Marian Hossa has made sure that hasn't happened.
The 2-0 Blackhawks open up their home schedule on Tuesday night as they host the division-rival St. Louis Blues.
Perhaps no player in the league benefited from the lockout more than Hossa, who likely would not have been ready to play in an October start after suffering a concussion in Game 3 of last season's Western Conference quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes. Hossa left that game on a stretcher after taking a hit to the head from the Coyotes' Raffi Torres, who was suspended for the check.
Hossa had a pair of goals and an assist in Saturday's season-opening win at Los Angeles and then notched another two tallies in Sunday's 6-4 revenge win over the Coyotes.
"No hard feelings," Hossa said of the playing the Coyotes. "I just tried to take it as another game for me, just prepared as I always do. A big two points."
Dave Bolland added two goals and an assist for Chicago, which lost that playoff series to Phoenix in six games.
Ray Emery made 25 saves in the victory for a Blackhawks club that will play eight of its next nine on the road following this game.
Chicago did have the fourth-best home record in the NHL last season, going 27-8-6. That included a victory in all three meetings with St. Louis as the Blackhawks have won seven straight and nine of their last 10 at home versus the Blues.
Hossa had three goals and six points in six games versus the Blues last season as Chicago won the season series 4-2.
St. Louis is also 2-0 on the season and is coming off a road victory in Nashville on Monday night. Brian Elliott was called upon in relief and stopped all 13 shots he faced through overtime before turning away both skaters in a shootout as the Blues claimed a 4-3 win.
T.J. Oshie and Alexander Steen had shootout goals for the Blues.
Elliott came into the game after Jaroslav Halak yielded his third goal on the 11th shot he faced with 7:07 left in the second period. As Elliott pitched a shutout on his end, Alex Pietrangelo netted the game-tying goal with 7:50 left in the third.
"I was really happy with the way we stuck with it in the third. We just kept coming and coming and coming," said St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock, who is expected to start Elliott in this game.
Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko continued his excellent start, following up a two- goal debut in Saturday's 6-0 win over Detroit with a goal and two assists versus Nashville. His five points through his first two NHL games equals the most ever by a Blues rookie in that span. The mark was first set by Wayne Babych in 1978.
Steen is set to become the 53rd Swedish skater to play in 500 NHL games on Tuesday night, while this game could also mark the Blues debut of defenseman Wade Redden.
Redden was signed on Sunday after having his contract bought out by the New York Rangers last week. The Rangers had banished Redden to the Connecticut Whale of the AHL over the previous two seasons.
The 13-year NHL vet traveled with the team but did not play on Monday.