The new-look Chicago Blackhawks had a rough opening night Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., losing to the Lightning 5-1.
The Hawk were without Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Brent Seabrook for various health issues, and the youth-laden, rebuilding team looked not ready for prime time against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, who raised the banner at Amalie Arena in a pregame ceremony.
Malcolm Subban made his first start for the Hawks and gave up three goals in the first period. He he had trouble controlling rebounds, and the Lightning seemed to have their way with the Hawks defense in front of the net.
Ondrej Palat led off the scoring 10 minutes, 39 seconds into the game with a power- play goal, kicking over Victor Hedman’s rebound with his skate and poking in the puck around Subban’s outstretched right leg. Mathieu Joseph and Anthony Cirelli scored about a minute and a half apart late in the first.
Steven Stamkos added a power-play goal in the second period.
Subban had his moments to hang his hat on, such as a sprawling stick deflection on Alex Killorn on a wide-open look in the third period. But less than two minutes later, Stamkos got Subban looking for a possible shot attempt to the goalie’s left and fired over to Brayden Point, who scored from the other side.
Subban stopped 28 of 33 shots.
Meanwhile, the Hawks could do nothing against Andrei Vasilevskiy for most of the game. The Vezina Trophy finalist turned away break rushes from Patrick Kane and Pius Suter and recovered from the other side of the net to make a magnificent kick save against Andrew Shaw.
Dylan Strome knocked in a goal, ricocheting the puck off Erik Cernak’s skate and past Vasilevskiy’s pad to sneak into the net at 16:23 of the third for the Hawks’ first of the season.
Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 23 shots, including 3 of 4 on the Hawks’ power play.