Brandon Saad

Best of NHL: Brandon Saad-led Blackhawks embarrass Penguins, 10-1

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Best of NHL: Brandon Saad-led Blackhawks embarrass Penguins, 10-1

CHICAGO -- Brandon Saad scored three times in his return to Chicago and Ryan Hartman had a goal and four assists, helping the Blackhawks pound the Pittsburgh Penguins 10-1 on Thursday night.

Nick Schmaltz added two goals and an assist as Chicago kicked off its season in style with a runaway victory against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Patrick Kane also had a goal and three assists in the Blackhawks' highest scoring game since a 10-1 win against Winnipeg on Oct. 12, 1988.

Pittsburgh was coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to St. Louis in its season opener on Wednesday, and it looked every bit like a team on the second half of back-to-back nights. Antti Niemi was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots in his Penguins debut, forcing Matt Murray to come in after he took the loss against the Blues.

Sidney Crosby found Phil Kessel for a power-play goal at 2:05 of the second period, but Chicago already had a 5-0 lead at that point. It was the most goals allowed by Pittsburgh since a 10-8 loss to San Jose on Jan. 13, 1996 (see full recap).

Ovechkin notches hat trick in Capitals’ SO win
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Alex Ovechkin had a hat trick in a 6:33 span in the third period and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the shootout winner in the Washington Capitals' 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

Brett Connolly also scored for Washington, and Braden Holtby made 28 saves. Mark Stone struck twice for the Senators, Derick Brassard had a goal and two assists, Chris Wideman also scored, and Craig Anderson made 24 saves.

Ovechkin scored twice in a 1:23 span to tie it early in the third period.

Cody Ceci turned the puck over down low, allowing Kuznetsov to find Ovechkin for a shot he roofed past Anderson. Then, the Senators were unable to clear the puck and the same line was able to move the puck quickly to allow Ovechkin to score.

Ottawa regained the lead 1:17 later when Stone tipped in Dion Phaneuf's shot.

Ovechkin tied it again with 9:12 left in the period (see full recap).

Red Wings open new arena with win over Wild
DETROIT -- Henrik Zetterberg and Martin Frk scored in the third period to lift the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night in the first regular-season game at Little Caesars Arena.

Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin scored 23 seconds apart in the second period for the Red Wings, who rallied after blowing a 2-0 lead early in the third. Joel Eriksson Ek and Chris Stewart scored 48 seconds apart to tie it, and then Zetterberg put Detroit back ahead to stay with 12:53 remaining.

The Red Wings said goodbye to Joe Louis Arena in April and moved to a new downtown venue they'll share with the Detroit Pistons. The Red Wings missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 1990, and although expectations are low at the moment, they opened with a victory.

Even before the opening faceoff, fans were already partaking in that old Detroit tradition of tossing octopi on the ice. The puck went across the Detroit goal line twice in the first, but goaltender interference was called both times and the period ended scoreless. Minnesota's Devan Dubnyk made the save of the night when, while sprawled on his back, he swung his left arm across to deny Gustav Nyquist on a breakaway (see full recap).

NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

NHL Notes: Blackhawks reacquire Saad for Panarin; Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for No. 7

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks have reacquired forward Brandon Saad in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, parting with top young forward Artemi Panarin to complete the blockbuster deal.

The 24-year-old Saad spent his first four seasons with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Saad when he became a restricted free agent in 2015, the Blackhawks traded the rugged winger to the Blue Jackets.

He had 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games for Columbus last season.

The Blackhawks also received goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick in Friday's trade in exchange for forwards Panarin and Tyler Motte and Chicago's sixth-round selection on Saturday.

The loss of Panarin is a big blow for Chicago. He teamed with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov to form one of the NHL's most potent lines the past couple seasons.

Rangers send Stepan to Coyotes for DeAngelo, No. 7 pick
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired center Derek Stepan and goalie Antti Raanta from the New York Rangers for defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and the seventh overall pick in this year's draft.

The Coyotes have made massive changes since Andrew Barroway became sole owner earlier this month, trading away No. 1 goalie Mike Smith, parting ways with coach Dave Tippett and opting not to offer captain Shane Doan a contract. Arizona also acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago earlier Friday.

Stepan and Raanta should address two big needs.

The 27-year-old Stepan had 17 goals and 38 assists in 81 games with the Rangers last season. Raanta went 16-8-2 in 30 games, with four shutouts and a 2.26 goals-against average.

DeAngelo had five goals and nine assists in 39 games last season.

Blackhawks ship defenseman Hjalmarsson to Coyotes
CHICAGO -- The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles. He had five goals, 13 assists and a team-high 181 blocked shots in 73 games last season.

The Blackhawks received defensemen Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in Friday's trade. The 24-year-old Murphy had two goals and a career-high 15 assists in 77 games with Arizona last season. Dauphin, 22, has appeared in 32 NHL games over the last two seasons.

The trade comes with Arizona in a bit of turmoil. The team announced Thursday on the eve of the NHL draft that coach Dave Tippett was out after eight seasons (see full story).

Kings buy out defeseman Matt Greene
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Kings have bought out the final year of defenseman Matt Greene's contract.

The Kings announced the move Friday.

Greene has been with the Kings since 2008. He provided steady stay-at-home defense during their Stanley Cup championship runs in 2012 and 2014.

But Greene has played in only 29 games over the past two seasons due to serious injuries, and he has played in more than half of the Kings' games in just one season since 2012. He went on injured reserve Jan. 30 and had back surgery.

Greene had a four-year, $10 million contract extension that began in 2014. The buyout turns his $2.5 million cap hit next season into an $833,333 hit in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Greene has 17 goals and 63 assists in 615 games (see full story).