Troy Terry scored the lone goal with 8:26 left in the third period for the host Chicago Blackhawks, as they skated to a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams. It was the ninth shutout of the season for Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who made 21 saves, including two against Vancouver’s 34-year-old 33-year-old goalie Anders Nilsson.
“It was a nice surprise to see him move like that at that age,” said Crawford, who turned 33 on Sunday. “It was fun to see and it helped put the game away. It’s always fun getting the first one out of the way.”
With the win, the Blackhawks retain home-ice advantage against the Canucks for a fifth consecutive year.
“We’re missing so many guys from last year,” said Blackhawks left wing Patrick Kane, who was held without a point by Nilsson. “We’re just going to try to battle every night.”
The highlight of the evening for the Canucks was the performance of right wing Sven Baertschi, who also played against his hometown team as the Canucks played in his native country. Baertschi, a Swedish star, who had just two goals last season, hit the post on the first goal of the night in the first period, but had a goal-scoring chance go off the post in the third period and scored at the other end of the ice in the final minute to extend the game.
“That’s my favorite building,” said Baertschi, who scored twice in a series of three-on-three overtime game in a regular-season game last season against the Blackhawks. “I was just happy to play here, and I thought this was a great night to do it.”
For the Canucks, the loss was a dispiriting start to the season for the coaching staff. Vancouver had lost its last eight visits to Chicago, and was coming off a loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the preseason opener on Sunday.
The Blackhawks’ first two-game homestand gets underway on Friday night against the Nashville Predators.