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Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

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Best of NHL: Jaden Schwartz hat trick lifts Blues over Blackhawks

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz had his third career hat trick to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues' first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves. The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak

Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves (see full recap).

Maple Leafs ride big 1st period to win
TORONTO -- Curtis McElhinney made 29 saves in his season debut and the Toronto Maple Leafs scored four times in the first period in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night.

Starting in place of Frederik Andersen, McElhinney stopped 14 shots in the third period to hold off the Red Wings.

Nazem Kadri, Zach Hyman, Auston Matthews, Connor Brown, Morgan Rielly and William Nylander scored to help Toronto improve to an NHL-best 6-1-0. The Maple Leafs were coming off a 2-0 victory at Washington on Tuesday night.

Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, Jonathan Ericsson scored for the Red Wings, and Nick Jensen had three assists.

Jimmy Howard gave up three goals on four shots before getting yanked in favor of Petr Mrazek late in the first period (see full recap).

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: Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers agree to 7-year, $42 million extension

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NHL Notes: Jets, Nikolaj Ehlers agree to 7-year, $42 million extension

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Winnipeg Jets agreed to terms on a $42 million, seven-year contract extension with forward Nikolaj Ehlers on Wednesday.

The extension begins a year from now and carries an average annual value of $6 million, the Jets said in a statement.

"This team, this organization, this city ... from Day 1 I was happy here," Ehlers said before the Jets opened their season against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

"It's amazing playing in front of all these fans. Winnipeg as a city is amazing, they love their hockey, so I could not see any reason to not want to stay here long term."

The 21-year-old Ehlers had 64 points (25 goals, 39 assists) in 82 games for the Jets last season (see full story).

Flames: Team signs 45-year-old Jagr to 1-year deal
CALGARY, Alberta -- Jaromir Jagr has signed with the Calgary Flames.

The 45-year-old Jagr agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday for his 24th NHL season -- and first with a Canadian team.

"I already said in a Czech newspaper it's 99.9 percent that his will be my last season, so I want to get the experience to one day say I played for a Canadian team," Jagr said.

The five-time NHL scoring champion is second behind Wayne Gretzky in NHL history with 1,914 points (765 goals, 1,149 assists).

Jagr has played 1,711 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Dallas, Boston, New Jersey and Florida and is 57 games from passing Gordie Howe for the most NHL games played (1,767).

"If I can reach it, especially with a Calgary Flames jersey on, it's going to be special," Jagr said. "I don't want to look that far" (see full story).

Wild: Winnik signs 1-year deal after successful camp tryout
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have signed left wing Daniel Winnik to a one-year, $660,000 contract.

Winnik was in training camp on a tryout basis. He was a free agent after a career-high 12 goals in 72 games last season for Washington.

The 32-year-old Winnik became more valuable to the Wild with a back injury limiting left wing Zach Parise, and Winnik was rewarded Wednesday with a contract. He's been on the fourth line with center Matt Cullen and right wing Tyler Ennis.

The Wild will be his eighth NHL team. He played two seasons for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau when they were both with Anaheim. Winnik has 76 goals and 152 assists in 717 games, plus 58 games in the playoffs (see full story).

Sabres: Redmond acquired from Canadiens
BUFFALO, N.Y.  -- The Buffalo Sabres have acquired defenseman Zach Redmond in a trade that sent forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Montreal Canadiens.

The move involving two minor leaguers was made on Wednesday, a day before Buffalo opens the season by hosting Montreal.

Redmond is listed at 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds and was selected in the seventh round of 2008 draft by the then-Atlanta Thrashers. He has nine goals and 29 assists in 130 NHL games split between Montreal, Colorado and Winnipeg.

The Sabres announced Redmond will report to Rochester, their American Hockey League affiliate (see full story).

Blackhawks: Bickell signs 1-day contract to retire with Chicago
CHICAGO -- Bryan Bickell has signed a one-day contract so he can retire with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Bickell was selected by Chicago in the second round of the 2004 draft and spent his first nine seasons with the Blackhawks, winning three Stanley Cup championships. He was traded to Carolina in June 2016.

The 31-year-old Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last November and played in just 11 games with the Hurricanes. He announced his retirement in April and scored a memorable shootout goal in his final game.

The Blackhawks also placed forward Marian Hossa on long-term injured reserve and signed defenseman Cody Franson to a one-year contract. Forward Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Gustav Forsling were recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League (see full story).

Predators: Former Flyer Zolnierczyk signs 1-year, 2-way deal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have signed Harry Zolnierczyk to a one-year, two-way contract keeping the 30-year-old forward with the franchise.

The Predators announced the deal Wednesday. Zolnierczyk will be paid based on a $650,000 contract when on the Predators' roster and $150,000 when assigned to Milwaukee in the AHL.

Zolnierczyk played 24 games and scored four points for Nashville last season. He had a goal and two assists in 11 playoff games as Nashville reached the Stanley Cup Final.

Undrafted, Zolnierczyk played at Brown, and his NHL career includes 84 games with Nashville, Anaheim, the Islanders, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with 13 points.

Capitals: High goal-scoring expectations for Ovechkin at 32
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Alex Ovechkin has scored 50 goals so regularly that finishing with 30-something was a disappointment.

Ovechkin is responsible for seven of the 20 times any player has scored 50 goals in a season since he entered the league in 2005. As Washington Capitals teammate T.J. Oshie pointed out, Ovechkin is "a pure goal-scorer, the best of our time," and his 558 career goals are well ahead of everyone else in the NHL in that time.

The challenge now is for Ovechkin to keep it up going into his 13th season at age 32. His 33 goals last season were his fewest in an 82-game season since 2010-11, and now the Capitals need him to up the ante after several key offseason losses.

"Last year's the minimum," general manager Brian MacLellan said Tuesday. "I think he can get more goals than that."

But how many goals are realistic? Coach Barry Trotz thinks "you keep the bar at 50" until Ovechkin doesn't get there (see full story).