Keith Yandle scored an early goal and Eetu Luostarinen snapped a tie in the third period, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 5-2 season-opening win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday in Sunrise, Fla.
Luostarinen and Patric Hornqvist, who also scored, made their Panthers debuts. Yandle, the subject of persistent trade/benching rumors, played his 867th consecutive game — the longest streak by an NHL defenseman.
Florida was the 30th NHL team to play its season opener this year, with only the Dallas Stars yet to debut.
Panthers backup goalie Chris Driedger made 25 stops to earn the win. Starter Sergei Bobrovsky is not yet in game shape.
Defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau also scored for Florida. Huberdeau added two assists.
Alex DeBrincat and Connor Murphy each scored and Collin Delia made 24 stops for the Blackhawks. But it wasn’t enough to prevent Chicago from losing its third straight game to start the season.
Chicago had an apparent goal by Patrick Kane wiped out with 7:28 left in the first period. Pius Suter’s spin-around assist was also nullified after the Panthers challenged, and a video review showed that Kane was offside.
The Panthers opened the scoring just 12 seconds into the second period. Ekblad’s long shot from beyond the right circle went in with help from a screen by Carter Verhaeghe.