COLUMBUS, Ohio — This was supposed to be the weekend for the NHL All-Star Game at Nationwide Arena.
Instead, the Chicago Blackhawks flaunted their own constellation of stars.
Patrick Kane had yet another multipoint game with two assists, Jonathan Toews scored the game-winner early in the third period and Corey Crawford had 24 saves to help Chicago match the best start in franchise history with a 3-2 victory Saturday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The only other time the Blackhawks began a season 5-0-0 was 1971-72.
“That was one of those games where maybe we didn’t play our best hockey like we’ve seen in the last five games, but as a team it doesn’t matter who goes out there you’ve got to find a way to win," Toews said. “And we did that."
Crawford, who won for the fourth time this season, was solid all night but particularly when the Blackhawks were a man down. They killed all five penalties.
“I feel good, I feel focused," Crawford said. “The puck looks pretty big right now. Also, everyone’s making the effort to play defense. It’s showing in the first bunch of games — guys are coming back to help out and that helps us get to offense after that."
Badly outplayed at the outset, the Blackhawks played methodical, poised and unhurried hockey all night. Even when down 1-0, it seemed only a matter of time before they collected themselves and took control.
Also on Saturday:
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Patrick Marleau became the second player in NHL history to open a season with four straight multigoal games, striking twice on the power play in the first period for San Jose.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Anze Kopitar scored two goals to spark Los Angeles’ top line and the defending Stanley Cup champs earned their first victory of the season.
Maple Leafs 2
NEW YORK — Defenseman Marc Staal scored the tying goal early in the third period and then set up Marian Gaborik’s game-winner late to rally New York.
SUNRISE, Fla. — Matt Read notched his first career hat trick and Philadelphia won its second straight after losing the first three games of the season.
DALLAS — David Perron scored two goals and had an assist, and Wade Redden notched his first NHL goal in almost three years to lead St. Louis past Dallas.
CALGARY, Alberta — Lee Stempniak scored a power-play goal and added two assists to lead Calgary to its first win of the season.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Viktor Fasth made 19 saves and stopped all three Nashville shootout attempts to win his NHL debut, and Corey Perry scored the only shootout goal in the Anaheim Ducks’ victory.