Blackhawks open Cup defense with comeback win over Capitals

Wed Oct 2, 2013 10:54pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The Blackhawks scored three unanswered third period goals to open the defense of their Stanley Cup crown with thrilling 6-4 comeback victory over the Washington Capitals in Chicago on Tuesday.

In other opening night action, the Toronto Maple Leafs held on to edge the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in an Original Six matchup while the Winnipeg Jets got off to a flying start by rallying to beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-4.

The Blackhawks kicked off the new National Hockey League season by celebrating last year's championship, raising the Stanley Cup banner to the rafters at a rocking United Center, then set to work on collecting a third title in five years.

The crowd was on their feet again in the third period as Chicago staged a furious rally, scoring three times in the final 12 minutes to stun the visitors.

Trailing 4-3, Brandon Saad tied the game while Johnny Oduya celebrated his 32nd birthday by notching the winner and Marian Hossa added an insurance marker with 38 seconds to play.

Brandon Bollig, Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook also found the back of the net for the Blackhawks, while Mikhail Grabovski bagged a hat-trick and picked up an assist, and was unlucky to finish on the losing team in his first game as a Capital.

Alex Ovechkin, the NHL's most valuable player, scored the other Washington goal.

"If anything, our turnovers gave them momentum, gave them life, and they're a really good hockey team," Capitals coach Adam Oates told reporters. "It's hard to play that way.

"You don't want to trade chances, trade opportunities with them. That's more their style, not ours. We're more about territory."   Continued...

Oct 1, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save in front of center Jonathan Toews (19) and Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski (84) during the third period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Capitals 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports