Stanley Cup holders down Washington first game of the year.
Chicago Blackhawks players celebrated the team’s fifth Stanley Cup title won last June with a championship banner-raising ceremony, then beat Washington 6-4 in their National Hockey League season opener.
Joining them in triumph were the Toronto Maple Leafs, who captured the first NHL game of the season played in Canada by beating the host Montreal Canadiens 4-3.
At Chicago, the tone was set before the game as fans cheered the commemoration of the team’s NHL Final triumph over Boston just over three months ago.
Against the Capitals, Johnny Oduya scored the go-ahead goal with 6:07 to play and the Blackhawks also had goals from Brandon Saad, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Brandon Bollig and Patrick Kane.
Corey Crawford stopped 28 shots in the victory, although he surrendered a hat trick to Washington’s Mikhail Grabovski.
Russian star Alex Ovechkin, who received the Olympic flame in Greece last weekend to launch its journey to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics next February, also scored a goal for the Capitals.
At Montreal, Toronto’s Tyler Bozak scored a short-handed goal to put the Maple Leafs ahead, but it was Mason Raymond who netted the eventual game-winner in the third period.
James van Riemsdyk and Dion Phaneuf also scored for the Maple Leafs, who earlier in the day had signed star Phil Kessel to an eight-year contract extension worth $64 million. The deal came on the eve of Kessel’s 27th birthday.
Toronto goaltender James Reimer made 34 saves.
Lars Eller scored two goals and Brendan Gallagher added another for the Canadiens.