The Blackhawks went all out to commemorate the start of their championship defense—and why not? How often do you win a Cup? But last night’s ceremony went on forever. There was a red carpet walk. Every player got an introduction. Videos played. The Stanley Cup came out. Gary Bettman was booed. Finally, the banner was raised to the rafters. The whole thing took about 40 minutes, well beyond the scheduled puck drop, and all the while the visiting Rangers were stewing in their locker room.
Henrik Lundqvist, who kicked off his year with 32 saves in a 3-2 New York win, said the delay just offered extra motivation.
“[W]e were sitting in here and they delayed a little bit, I may be a little bit upset so you want to go out there and pay them back,” Lundqvist said. “To try to kill the atmosphere a little bit like that was huge for us.”
1:43 into the game, Oscar Lindberg scored on his
first career NHL shift. [Correction: Lindberg played in one game last season.]
The Rangers scored three times in the first and held on for the win—but just barely, as Patrick Kane poked the puck in from under Lundqvist’s pad with a minute remaining. But the whistle was blown and the dead puck upheld upon review, saving everyone from a really awkward moment. (Well, not awkward for Blackhawks fans. Kane was cheered heartily all night.)