By Brad Vandenberk
On Saturday, Chicago Blackhawks played their first divisional game of the year against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Before the game, Dan Carcillo was given a 2 game suspension for his “hit” on Joni Pitkanen during Friday night’s shutout loss in Carolina.
Both teams started their back up goalies Saturday, giving Allen York his first NHL start of the season for Columbus. Ray Emery started his second game of the year giving Corey Crawford the night off. With Carcillo off the roster, the Hawks were forced to adjust their lineup accordingly. Patrick Sharp took Carcillo’s spot on Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa’s line which put a void on the Jonathan Toews and Andrew Brunette line. Viktor Stalberg found a spot on the first line moving up from the fourth. The Bolland line stayed intact as the fourth line saw John Scott with Marcus Kruger and Jamal Mayers. Sami Lepisto played his first game of the year on defense replacing Sean O‘Donnell.
The Hawks took the lead early. Marcus Kruger scored his first goal of the year, and first NHL goal, on a rebound. Jamal Mayers entered the zone, let a shot go and Kruger put the puck passed York.
The Jackets weren’t down long. Vinny Prospal received a pass from Fedor Tyutin and went glove side on Emery tying the game at 1 with 14:02 remaining in the opening period.
The Hawks received the first penalty of the game when Dave Bolland was called for tripping. They were able to kill the penalty as Columbus had trouble entering the zone. Then, Hawks received their first attempt on the power play as Fedor Tyutin was called for tripping. The power play didn’t last long as Bolland found his way back to the sin bin with another trip, allowing the teams to play 4 on 4. Later in the period, Toews was called for hooking with 3:08 remaining in the first. The Hawks continued their dominance on the penalty kill as Bolland broke through center ice after receiving a pass from Michael Frolik. As he was being hauled down on the breakaway, the puck slid past York for a 2-1 lead; the Hawks third short handed goal of the year. The period ended with the Hawks leading the Jackets 2-1 and 10-8 in shots on net.
The second period opened with the Hawks having a jump in their step. Toews almost scored a wrap around goal, with rookie York making a great save.
The Hawks’ speed was hard to match as James Wisniewski was called for holding the stick, sending the Hawks back on a power play. During this power play, Sharp rings one off the post. Kane did put the puck in the net and had the entire United Center crowd on their feet! The goal was called off as Kane’s stick was too high, keeping the score at 2-1 Hawks.
Duncan Keith tried to get physical, throwing a beautiful open ice hit on Prospal.
Again, the Hawks’ speed was tough to contend with as ex-Hawk Aaron Johnson was called for hooking. The Hawks struggled to enter the zone during the power play unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
Columbus evened the score as Derek MacKenzie retrieved the puck that was shot in the zone past Niklas Hjalmarsson who had fallen down. Derek put a shot on net and Rick Nash gathered the rebound, getting it back to MacKenzie, who put it past Emery. The period ended with a 2-2 tie leaving the Hawks still having the shots advantage, leading 22-16.
Although the Blackhawks opened the third period being out hit 22-11, the Bluejackets still had trouble dealing with the Hawks’ speed finding themselves back in the penalty box. Alexandre Giroux was called for hooking, sending the Hawks on the fourth power play of the night. During the power play, Hossa went hard to the net allowing Sharp to put home a rebound. As the goal was scored, Bryan Bickell was called for high sticking, disallowing another Hawks’ goal.
As the teams played 4 on 4 for the second time tonight, Nick Leddy left a puck on the boards in the offensive zone. Stalberg came in and picked it up, creating a 2 on 1. With a quick move into the middle of the ice, Stalberg fired a shot past York making it 3-2 Hawks with 15:24 remaining in the game.
Later, Stalberg was up to it again scoring his second goal of the night! Brunette took the puck around the back of the net and sent a pass across the crease to a wide open Stalberg, who put it past York.
A scary moment saw Matt Calvert hit Toews from behind. The captain was slow to get up, but not long after was seen on the power play. Dave Bolland had the crowd up on their feet once again as the Hawks seemed to have finally scored on the power play. All the Jackets knew the puck was kicked in however, and upon further review, the Hawks were denied for the third time in the game, keeping the score at 4-2.
Kane was called for tripping sending the Jackets on a power play for the fifth time. Now it was the Jackets turn to have a goal not count as Derick Brassard kicked the puck past Emery.
As the period was coming to an end, Frolik sent a one-handed shot toward the empty net making the final 5-2 Hawks.
-Hawks outshot the Jackets 38-29.
–Ray Emery is now 2-0
-Hawks were 0/5 on the power play
-Hawks remaining among the league’s best on the penalty kill
-4 goals were disallowed; 3 for different reasons
–Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 27:30 of ice time
-Viktor Stalberg, Michael Frolik and Nick Leddy all finished with 2 points each
-Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews , Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane were keft off the score sheet
-Hawks take a 4-point lead in the Central Division with Detroit continuing their losing streak
-The Blackhawks’ next game is Monday the 31st of October, as another divisional opponent, The Nashville Predators, visit the United Center