CHICAGO – Michal Handzus scored the go-ahead goal 6:45 into the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks held on for a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Friday night.
Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and rookie Joakim Nordstrom connected in the first period, while Duncan Keith had two assists. Nordstrom’s goal was his first in the NHL.
Josh Bailey scored at 19:06 of the first period, and Kyle Okposo scored 49 seconds later for the Islanders (2-1-1), who lost their first game in regulation.
Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin made 17 saves, and New York’s Kevin Poulin finished with 25 as both goaltenders made their first starts this season.
The 40-year-old Khabibulin rejoined the Blackhawks last summer as a free agent to back up Corey Crawford. Evgeni Nabokov had started the Islanders’ first three contests.
Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago (2-1-1) had allowed five power-play goals in nine attempts entering the game, but killed both New York advantages on Friday.
The Blackhawks dominated the first period and took a 2-0 lead, but the goals by Bailey and Okposo in the final minute of the frame pulled the Islanders into a 2-all tie.
Set up by Niklas Hjalmarsson’s feed from behind the net, Nordstrom opened the scoring midway through the first period from just outside the crease to cap a Chicago flurry in the New York zone.
Toews made it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period when Brent Seabrook’s shot from the right point bounced off the back boards and straight to Toews in the left circle. He fired into an open net before Poulin could recover.
Bailey wristed in a shot with 54 seconds left in the first to cut it to 2-1 after he corralled Michael Grabner’s drop pass in the right circle.
Okposo tied it at 2 with just five seconds remaining in the period on a backhand shot from a crowd in the slot. He was set up by John Tavares’ pinpoint pass from behind the net.
Handzus put Chicago back ahead when he was left uncovered in in the slot and popped in a rebound of Duncan Keith’s shot from the point after the puck rolled off Poulin.
Both teams had a handful of chances in the third, including a couple of close-in attempts by Tavares.