CHICAGO (AP) — So much for a Stanley Cup hangover for Vegas.
The Golden Knights are perfect so far.
Nicolas Roy, Mark Stone and Paul Cotter scored in the third period, and the undefeated Golden Knights beat Connor Bedard and the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 on Saturday night.
Bedard scored on his first shot in Chicago’s home opener, but Vegas’ superior depth proved to be too much for the rebuilding Blackhawks. The Golden Knights became the first Stanley Cup champions to begin their title defense with six consecutive victories.
“We’re playing good hockey,” defenseman Brayden McNabb said. “We have some stretches where we don’t like our games, but we’re finding ways to win.”
William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault also scored for Vegas, which extended its franchise-record start. Adin Hill made 21 saves.
“We knew after two periods that we were going to have to be better if we expected to win, and I thought we responded well,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said.
Reese Johnson and Corey Perry also scored for Chicago, which returned home after beginning the season with a 2-3-0 road trip. Arvid Soderblom made 19 stops.
Vegas went in front for good when Roy knocked home a perfect centering pass from Keegan Kolesar just 13 seconds into the third.
“I think that was a bit of a killer for them,” Karlsson said.
The Blackhawks had two power-play chances in the third, but the Golden Knights killed off both. Michael Amadio’s rush to the net set up Stone’s first goal of the season at 13:47, and Cotter helped close it out when he made it 5-2 with a power-play goal at 16:09.
“We clawed and fought with a really good team for 40 minutes,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said. “It was just disappointing to start the third period like that.”
Chicago was the last NHL team to hold its home opener. The pregame festivities featured an emotional tribute to former owner Rocky Wirtz, who died in July at age 70. Bedard got the loudest ovation during player introductions.
It got much, much louder when Bedard scored on the first shot of the game, beating Hill from the slot during a power play just 90 seconds into the first period. It was his second goal in his six games.
“You could see the ovation from the crowd, and the goal was well-deserved,” Chicago defenseman Connor Murphy said. “It definitely gave the building and our team energy. It was pretty cool to see that right off the bat.”
Bedard became the first No. 1 overall pick to score in his first home game since Nail Yakupov for Edmonton on Jan. 22, 2013. At 18 years, 96 days, he also became the second-youngest player in franchise history to score in the team’s home opener, behind Eddie Olczyk at 18 years, 56 days on Oct. 11, 1984.
Chicago went 1 for 5 on the power play against Vegas. It is 2 for 27 with the man advantage on the season, also allowing two short-handed goals.
“It was big for our power play, I think, to see one go in,” Bedard said. “But obviously now, it doesn’t feel as good, but in the moment, it was great for sure.”
The lead was short-lived. Karlsson responded for Vegas, tying it at 1 with a backhand on a power play at 4:05.
The teams also exchanged goals in the second. The Golden Knights went in front when Marchessault’s shot trickled through Soderblom’s legs at 7:30. But the Blackhawks tied it on Johnson’s nifty redirection at 8:50.
Marchessault has three goals this season after scoring for the second straight game. It was No. 1 on the season for Johnson.
ON THE MEND
Cassidy said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo is skating again. Pietrangelo departed Vegas’ 4-1 victory at San Jose on Oct. 12 after he was hit in the side of the head by a shot.
Blackhawks forwards Philipp Kurashev (left wrist) and Colin Blackwell (lower body) participated in the team’s morning skate.
“Now they’ll probably ramp up and see how they did with the first morning skate and hopefully get cleared to start practicing on Monday,” Richardson said.
With Kurashev and Blackwell on their way back, forward Cole Guttman was assigned to Rockford of the American Hockey League.
Golden Knights: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Blackhawks: Host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.