After a disastrous 0-8 start last year that turned into a season-long tailspin, the Columbus Blue Jackets were desperately looking for a confidence-boosting early win.
They got it Friday night.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski had a goal and an assist, and teammates Nick Foligno and William Karlssonpicked up their first goals of the season as the Blue Jackets beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 .
Columbus' Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a solid game, blocking 32 shots and surviving a desperate Chicago power-play rally near the end of the game.
Columbus never trailed in Friday's game.
"Just to fight through against a pretty good team that was coming at us in the second half of the game, saw our goalie play really well and keep us there, it just gives us a notch of confidence," Columbus coach John Tortorella said. "We keep on going from that."
The Blue Jackets (1-2-0) took the lead when the 19-year-old Werenski netted a wrist shot from the point during a power play at 9:10 in the first period. It was his team-leading second goal of the season, with Alexander Wennberg and Foligno credited with assists.
The Blackhawks tied it up 2:29 into the second period when a shot by Jonathan Toews ricocheted off Bobrovsky's pad and was put back by Motte, his first goal of the season.
Columbus took advantage of the power play again at 4:36 of the second when Foligno tapped it in from in front of the net, with assists from Werenski and Cam Atkinson.
Fourth-line center Karlsson got the Blue Jackets' final goal with 6:16 left in the second when he tipped in a shot from David Savard through traffic.
Panik pulled Chicago within one at 5:54 into the third period, popping in a goal from in front of the net off a pass from Gustav Forsling, but the Blackhawks couldn't tie it.
The Blackhawks have lost two straight.
"Even when it seems like we're doing a good job, bounces go against us," Toews said. "We're just a little shaky in some areas, so unfortunately another two goals we gave up in (penalty kill), it's just not good enough. We deserve all the criticism. We just need to keep finding ways and go deep in really trying to dig ourselves out of this right now."
Foligno greeted Bobrovsky at the end of the game with an embrace.
"Bob had been waiting a little while for that one," Foligno said. "It was nice, just for him, too. He's played outstanding the first two games for us, and it was nice to be able to reward him with a big win and a big hug."
NOTES: Columbus D Ryan Murray suffered what the team called an "upper-body injury" in the first period and did not return. He may have taken an elbow the head. He won't make the road trip. ...The Nationwide Arena crowd of 15,789 included a large, vocal contingency of red-clad Blackhawks fans. ... Columbus ended a streak of nine October losses at home dating to 2014. ... Bobrovsky and his mates held off a fierce six-shot Chicago rally in front of the net in the last 90 seconds of the second period. ... Columbus' Matt Calvert was penalized 2 minutes for goalie interference in the third period when he tripped Crawford, who came out of the crease to retrieve the puck. The video replay seemed to show that the contact was marginal. ... Werenski is first player in Blue Jackets history to post at least one point in each of the first three games of his NHL career.
Blackhawks: Return home for a Saturday night game against Toronto.
Blue Jackets: Four-game road trip begins Saturday night in Dallas.