DETROIT – Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist in the first 7 minutes and the Detroit Red Wings went on to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 in the season opener for both teams.

The game turned into a rout in the second period when Detroit scored three goals while St. Louis took just three shots, none of which got past Manny Legace, who needed to make a mere 13 saves.

Patrick Lalime allowed four goals on 24 shots before the Blues replaced him with Reinhard Divis midway through the second period.

Robert Lang, Mathieu Schneider, Mikael Samuelsson and Brett Lebda scored for the Red Wings, who still seem to have a lot of talent despite having to cut their payroll almost in half because of the NHL’s $39 million salary cap, a result of the lockout that cost last season.

Eric Brewer had a goal midway through the first period for the Blues, who will be challenged to extend the longest playoff streak in professional sports to 26 straight years after this season because their owners have put the streamlined team on the market.

St. Louis traded star defenseman Chris Pronger to Edmonton, allowed forward Pavol Demitra to leave as a free agent and legendary defenseman Al MacInnis retired.

It didn’t take long for Datsyuk to make a return on Detroit’s investment in him.

He scored 95 seconds into the game and assisted on Schneider’s goal several minutes later about a week after the restricted free agent signed a $7.8 million, 2-year contract.

The one-sided game didn’t provide much excitement, but Detroit’s Brendan Shanahan did with some feisty play in the third period.

After Keith Tkachuk knocked down Datsyuk and was called for roughing, Shanahan pounced on him and the two were in the middle of a scrum. Shanahan fought skate-to-skate with Jamal Mayers later in the period, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Notes: Detroit’s Steve Yzerman and Chris Osgood did not play because of groin injuries. … St. Louis was without one of its best defenseman, Barret Jackman, who is out with a separated shoulder. … Chris Chelios is the oldest player in the NHL – 43 years, 253 days – and the oldest to play for the Red Wings, surpassing Gordie Howe, who was just older than 43 in his last game for them in 1971. … Lebda became the first Red Wing to score in his NHL debut since Tim Taylor in 1993.

AP-ES-10-05-05 2221EDT


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