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New York Rangers spoil festive night in Chicago, beat Blackhawks

By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange
New York Rangers spoil festive night in Chicago, beat Blackhawks
New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

CHICAGO -- As the Chicago Blackhawks hoisted their Stanley Cup championship banner during a raucous pregame ceremony, the New York Rangers sat in the visitors' locker room and waited.

And waited. And waited some more.

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"It's a great moment for them, obviously," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said with a smile. "But we were sitting in here, and they delayed it a little bit, and it made you a little bit upset. So you wanted to go out there and pay it back."

The Rangers earned revenge by scoring three goals in the first period and holding on for a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. The loss spoiled a festive night for Chicago (0-1-0), which celebrated its title before the game while the Cubs celebrated an NL wild-card win in Pittsburgh.

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Center Oscar Lindberg, defenseman Kevin Klein and center Derek Stepan each scored for New York. Left winger J.T. Miller added two assists for the Rangers (1-0-0).

"It was a little helter-skelter, but we found a way to win on the road," Stepan said. "We have to sharpen up certain areas and play on our toes a little bit more, but we did a lot of good things in the first period."

The Blackhawks received goals from left wingers Artemi Panarin and Teuvo Teravainen. Right winger Patrick Kane tallied an assist and led the team with five shots on goal.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 32 of 34 shots to improve to 6-1-2 against the Blackhawks.

Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford turned aside 24 of 27 shots.

The Blackhawks thought they tied the score at 3 with one minute remaining when Kane dislodged the puck from beneath Lundqvist's pads. However, officials ruled that Lundqvist had frozen the puck.

Lundqvist said he heard a whistle stop play before the puck crossed the goal line.

"I could kind of feel the puck underneath my pad, so I think it's a good call," Lundqvist said. "But I'd probably have to look at it and see. It is a close call."

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When asked about the whistle, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville offered a one-word response: "Quick."

The Rangers opened the scoring 1:43 into the first period on Lindberg's first career NHL goal. Miller slipped a pass to Lindberg, who ripped a one-timer from the right of the crease.

Panarin answered with his first career NHL goal to even the score at 1 with 5:36 to go in the first period. Kane found Panarin alone in the slot to set up the goal.

Quenneville said Panarin shined in his debut. The Blackhawks signed the 23-year-old to a two-year contract this summer after he notched 62 points in 54 games in Russia's KHL last season.

"I call him the bread man," Quenneville said. "Looked like he had the puck all night."

Panarin described his emotions as "over the top" as he played his first game and scored his first goal.

"I'm trying to remember the reactions of the crowd," Panarin said. "I kind of got overwhelmed, couldn't hear anything. I was really happy. It's just too bad we didn't win."

After Panarin's goal, a one-timer by Klein made it 2-1 with 3:22 remaining in the opening period.

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The Rangers increased their lead to 3-1 when Stepan punched in a goal with 59 seconds remaining in the first period. Right winger Kevin Hayes missed wide on a breakaway opportunity, but he retrieved the puck and flipped a pass to Stepan before Crawford could recover.

Chicago cut the deficit to 3-2 on a one-timer by Teravainen with 13:05 left in the second period. Teravainen beat Lundqvist glove-side after taking a pass from right winger Marian Hossa.

Miller said the Rangers could build upon a hard-fought win to open the season.

"Honestly, it doesn't matter what it looks like," Miller said. "At the end of the day, it's two points, and it's the perfect start to the season."

NOTES: Blackhawks players lined the ice for a pregame ceremony as the franchise lifted its 2014-15 Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters of the United Center. ... Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist started his 10th consecutive season-opening game for the team. The only goaltender with more season-opening starts for the Rangers is Ed Giacomin, whose 11-season streak ran from 1965 to 1975. ... Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane skated on a line with C Artem Anisimov and LW Artemi Panarin. Kane is the subject of a law-enforcement investigation near Buffalo, N.Y., but he has not been charged. ... C Jarret Stoll made his Rangers debut after spending the previous seven seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. ... The Blackhawks presented Rangers G Antti Raanta with his Stanley Cup ring. Raanta was 7-4-1 for Chicago last season before the Rangers acquired him in June.

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