Blackhawks earn first win by beating Red Wings in home opener

Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves and Andrew Shaw scored for the first time since November 2019 in the Hawks’ 4-1 victory.

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Kevin Lankinen earned his first NHL win as the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings on Friday.

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The Blackhawks are finally in the win column.

Milestones for Kevin Lankinen, Ian Mitchell and Andrew Shaw helped the Hawks beat the Red Wings 4-1 in the home opener Friday.

“Everyone wants to have a good feeling when you leave the rink,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We did some good things, so it’s a lot easier to build on that if you get a victory. [I’m] happy for the guys. They’re going to feel a lot better going to bed tonight.”

Warmup jerseys honoring Chicago frontline workers, a pregame Native American Land Acknowledgment — something the franchise will do before every game — and Jim Cornelison’s prerecorded national-anthem rendition set the tone for a heartwarming night at an empty United Center.

That uplifting vibe continued when Patrick Kane fittingly scored the first regular-season goal seen at the United Center since March 11, 2020.

Mitchell notched his first career point on a goal by Calvin de Haan. Shaw scored his first goal since Nov. 7, 2019, keeping the Hawks’ power play red-hot. Also, the much-maligned penalty kill had a perfect 5-for-5 effort.

And Lankinen, starting for the second time in his NHL career, took the first clear lead in the Hawks’ goaltending battle with a stellar 30-save outing. For 52 minutes, he looked on track for a shutout.

At last, the Hawks were able to smile during postgame interviews, Lankinen most of all.

“What can I say?” Lankinen said, beaming ear to ear. “Friday night in Chicago, home opener at the United Center, [to] get your first NHL win. Only the fans were missing. That sucks, but other than that, it feels awesome.”

That winning feeling probably won’t happen that often this year. The miserable Wings certainly helped the Hawks’ cause on this night. 

But for the long-awaited return to Chicago, the satisfaction seemed apt.

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