By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks visited the doormat that is the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night. The Blackhawks had not dropped a contest to the visiting Blue Jackets all season, and a strong effort in the opening minutes paved the way for an easy 5-1 victory.
Chicago took control of the contest in the fifth minute when Bryan Bickell went to the corner for a loose puck, won the ensuing battle, and threw the puck off of the appropriately positioned Andrew Shaw and into the Columbus net. Shaw got the credit for the goal and the ‘Hawks led 1-0 just 4:12 into the game.
Patrick Sharp doubled that lead two minutes later after Viktor Stalberg found him in the corner just short of the goal line. Sharp let fly with a shot that caromed off of goalie Steve Mason and in to make it 2-0 with just 6:17 gone in the opening period.
Just over two minutes later, Duncan Keith hit Dave Bolland coming into the Blue Jackets zone. Bolland dropped the puck back to Keith for the slap shot, which was off the mark. Brent Seabrook held the puck just inside the blue line and flipped a 55-footer past Mason to give Chicago a commanding 3-0 lead.
From there, the Blackhawks put it into cruise control and did not let Columbus back into the contest. Stalberg hit two posts in the second period, but the Blue Jackets could only muster three shots on goal in the middle frame.
Chicago got the offense going again with a pair of power play strikes to start the third period. Marian Hossa set up Sharp for a one-timer from the slot 37 ticks into the period. In the fifth minute, it was Hossa’s turn, tapping in a nice pass from Shaw to give the Blackhawks a 5-0 advantage.
Crawford took the shutout into the final ten minutes, but a Rick Nash re-direct of a Jack Johnson slapper gave the Blue Jackets their only goal of the contest with just inside seven minutes left.
-Not much to say about this one. The ‘Hawks came out smoking and handled business against a terrible club with a goalie you almost feel sorry for.
-Hossa’s goal gave him his 900th career point.
-Brandon Bollig threw down with Jared Boll in the game’s third minute and came away with the decision. Say what you want about Bollig, but he was brought up to Chicago to fight and that’s just what he does. In ten career games, Bollig has more fights this season (six) that John Scott (five).
-Nick Leddy was boarded by Darryl Boyce in the third period. He left after taking one more shift as a “precaution”, according to the Blackhawks.
-Despite Leddy’s absence through the third period, the minutes were pretty equal through the top defenders. Keith had just over 21 minutes of ice time, which should leave them well-rested for their game with Vancouver Wednesday night.
Duncan Keith finished Tuesday’s game with 4 assists. He was a plus-1 in 21:37 of ice time.