CHICAGO -- Brandon Bollig played the first 43 games of his career without a regular-season NHL goal.
In the Blackhawks' opening game of 2013-14, it took Bollig all of 4 minutes, 6 seconds to find the back of the net.
"It's nice to already surpass my offensive output from the last couple of seasons," Bollig said after the Hawks defeated the Capitals 6-4 on Tuesday night at the United Center. "It's nice to get that first one and start the season off well."
Bollig pounced on a loose puck near the Capitals goal and fired it past goaltender Braden Holtby to get the Hawks -- and his season -- off to a nice start.
"I'm on pace for 82," Bollig said with a smile. "I just have to play well defensively and play sound and hopefully pop in a couple of goals here and there."
Strong start: The start of a season means another opportunity to reach new heights. For Patrick Kane, that means a chance to contend for a scoring title -- though it's not foremost on the winger's mind.
"I don't know if you think about it right now," Kane said. "It would be pretty special to do. Right now, you're focused on getting ... off to a good start, whether it's yourself personally or the team. We'll see where it goes from there. Everyone would love to win a scoring title."
Kane finished fifth in the NHL last season with 55 points, five behind leader Martin St. Louis of the Lightning. He got off to a strong start to the new season when he scored midway through the first period against the Capitals while the teams were skating at full strength.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Kane is capable of winning the Art Ross Trophy as leading scorer, especially if the Hawks can develop a potent power play.
"Perennially, he's up there at the top of the league," Quenneville said. "If you look back at the last couple of years, our power play hasn't been as it could be or should or is going to be. Let's hope it's great this year. If our power play is great (and) he's a big part of that, his numbers will ... be near the top."
Checking in: Marian Hossa did not play in any of the six exhibition games after aggravating a back injury early in training camp, but he reported no problems after playing 17:09 in the opener.
"So far, it was holding good," said Hossa, who had a goal and an assist. "We'll see how it's going to be (Wednesday) morning, but I was pretty pleased."
Hossa said his timing is a work in progress.
"My timing was as I expected," he said. "It was a little bit behind but wasn't bad. In the game I started feeling better. I felt like I was getting my step back, so I just need a couple of more games to get to full speed."
Bittersweet: The Capitals' Troy Brouwer was a member of the Hawks' 2010 Stanley Cup team and was on the ice during the banner ceremony to open the following season. The winger said he had "mixed emotions" about being on hand in a different uniform for Tuesday's banner-raising.
"I'm happy for the guys here that I played with," Brouwer said. "I'm happy for the city, but at the same point I'm jealous. I want to be raising the banner in Washington."
The Hawks traded Brouwer to the Capitals for a 2011 first-round pick on June 24, 2011. The veteran said he still gets a thrill upon returning to the UC.
"It's always fun to come back to where you started in the NHL, where I was able to win a Cup," Brouwer said. "I have a lot of ties (and) a lot of good memories here. You want to play hard against your old team, but at the same point sometimes it's tough to leave."
Homegrown: Orland Park native Connor Carrick made his NHL debut for the Capitals. The 19-year-old defenseman earned a spot on the roster and was inserted into the lineup against his favorite team growing up.
"It's incredible," Carrick said. "To be able to play where I'm going to play and with some of these guys in this room is really special for me."
Carrick said hockey was always his focus while growing up in the southwest suburbs.
"I spent a lot of time on the game when I was a kid," Carrick said. "I love the details of it. That's why I'm so excited to be at this level."
Long haul: After playing 48 regular-season games in 2013 because of the lockout, the Hawks are hunkering down for the rigors of an 82-game season.
"I don't know if it will really hit us until Christmastime," defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "It might turn it into a little bit of a grind, but every team is going to go through that. We're prepared for the long haul. We've played an 82-game season before, and we're ready to rock."
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