During exhibitions it appeared the Blackhawks had a more potent offense, but in Thursday night's season opener in Nashville they looked more like the Edmonton Oilers circa 1985 than the slogging, impotent unit that has been on display the last couple of seasons.
"It was a great win," Havlat said. "It was a pretty wild game. If we would have won 1-0 we would have the same feeling."
But it wouldn't have been as much fun to watch. The eight goals were the most for the Hawks since they beat the Boston Bruins 8-5 on March 9, 2003a span of 177 games.
For a while, it looked as though nothing had changed when Nashville jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 4 minutes 43 seconds on goals by J.P. Dumont at the 39-second mark and Kimmo Timonen on a power play.
"I didn't know what to think after that," defenseman Brent Seabrook said.
"The boys didn't panic."
Last season's Hawks likely would have folded up shop and taken a 5-1 or 6-1 beating.
Havlat, however, wasn't around for last year's troubles and doesn't carry around the baggage that follows his new team.
"I was thinking there were 56 minutes left," Havlat said. "We'll try to get back on track and win the game."
Havlat flipped a backhander past Vokoun in what would be perhaps his most pedestrian point of the four.
The goal ignited a three-goal flurry with Patrick Sharp tying the game 3:26 later and Michal Handzus giving the Hawks the lead at 10:24. Despite being outshot and outplayed for most of the period, the Hawks went into the dressing room with the lead.
On the Hawks' first power play of the night, however, Havlat weaved through defenders and sent a backhand pass through the crease for Martin Lapointe to bang past a shaky Vokoun to tie the game 4-4 going into the third.
"That play on the power play was unbelievable," Seabrook said of Havlat's pass.
Nashville closed the gap on goals from Legwand and Sullivan but Havlat's empty-netter, in which he turned around Timonen in open ice, iced the game.
If nothing else, Thursday showed Havlat might be the best pure skill player the Hawks have had since Denis Savard was dazzling fans in old Chicago Stadium.
"Your best players have to be your best players," coach Trent Yawney said. "Martin Havlat was very good."