By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks visited Nationwide Arena Saturday night looking to take two points from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Thanks to Sergei Bobrovsky, only a single point could be claimed. Columbus rode their goalie to a 3-2 shootout victory as Bobrovsky made 39 saves.
The Blackhawks had plenty of chances but ultimately dropped the game in what turned out to be an nine-round shootout. Patrick Sharp and Ben Smith tallied for Chicago in the losing effort.
First Period-Brandon Saad was tripped while chasing a rebound by Ryan Johansen 30 seconds into the game. That put the Hawks up a man right off the bat. Despite keeping the puck in the Columbus zone and getting a couple of shots on goal, Chicago could not convert.
The Hawks got the puck in the net in the fourth minute, but the officials called Marian Hossa for interfering with Sergei Bobrovsky after the goalie hauled in a Saad offering. Hossa knocked the puck out of Bobrovsky’s glove and knocked it into the net. However, it was correctly disallowed.
Daniel Carcillo made a nice effort in getting the puck to the front of the net in the eighth minute but Ben Smith’s shot went wide of the target. At the 8:43 mark, Kris Versteeg caught James Wisniewski with a high stick. The Hawks PK took care of business and the game remained scoreless.
Jonathan Toews took advantage of a Columbus turnover in the 16th minute but missed with the shot. Carcillo had a shot stopped by Bobrovsky a few seconds later. A wrister by Sharp caught Bobrovsky by surprise with 3:23 left but the attempt was ultimately stopped.
The Blue Jackets got a goal by Jack Skille after he was taken down in the corner by Tim Erixon. Skille got to his skates and to the right post, where he tipped in an redirect attempt by Johansen past Corey Crawford. Columbus, who had been outshot 13-2 at this point, led 1-0 with 2:36 remaining in the opening period.
Bobrovsky knocked away a couple of Hawks attempts in the waning seconds of the period and his Blue Jackets went into the locker room up a goal.
Second Period-Saad came down the ice after Crawford deflected a Johansen shot seconds into the middle frame. The puck eluded Saad’s blade when the shot opportunity presented itself and Bobrovsky smothered the sliding biscuit.
Chicago wasted a 4-on-1 rush in the fifth minute without getting off a shot when Hossa’s stick broke. A few seconds later, Hossa and his new stick was hooked by Jack Johnson and the Hawks had a power play at the 4:35 mark. However, Bobrovsky stopped three shots on goal and the Blue Jackets killed the penalty.
The Hawks tied the contest 7:27 in after Michael Rozsival collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and passed to Sharp. Sharp skated down the left side and beat Bobrovsky to the glove side for the equalizer.
The Hawks had a good chance to take the lead midway through the period but Wisniewski got a stick on the stick of Toews as he was attempting to put in a puck from the right post. Aided by a nice feed from Brad Richards, Versteeg got off a shot that bounced off Bobrovsky’s right pad in the 13th minute. Brent Seabrook stopped a scoring opportunity soon after by knocking the puck off of Johansen’s stick.
The Blue Jackets put together some offensive pressure late in the period with two strong shifts. Chicago responded by breaking out on an odd-man rush but Richards’ attempt was stopped.
Toews and Brandon Dubinsky were engaged in some chippy action in front of Bobrovsky that wound up with the officials sending both to the locker room in the 18th minute with matching slashing and roughing penalties. With four seconds left Richards was sent to the box for a high-stick on Johnson. Columbus had the puck on the doorstep as the period ended but the score was still 1-1 heading into the second intermission.
Third Period-Chicago killed all but one second of the Blue Jackets power play to begin the final stanza. Unfortunately, Columbus took a 2-1 lead 1:55 into the third when Kevin Connauton scored his third goal of the season from the left dot.
Bobrovsky made an outstanding save of a Saad attempt at the left post with the right pad in the fourth minute. In the eighth minute, Hossa got Bobrovsky down and slid the puck across the crease but Saad couldn’t get a stick on it.
With 11:11 to go, several Blackhawks got to the crease and got the puck right on the cusp of the goal line when a stick-less Marcus Kruger slid and caught the puck with his skate. The call was no goal until the replay showed Smith knocking the puck in before it crossed the line. The goal knotted the game at two goals apiece.
In the 13th minute, Bryan Bickell was hooked by Alexander Wennberg to give Chicago a man advantage for the third time on the evening. Columbus negated the penalty and with five minutes left it was anyone’s game.
Seabrook made a crucial block of a Cam Atkinson shot on an odd-man rush that kept things even with 4:01 remaining. The Hawks then got one more power play when Jeremy Morin hooked Hossa with 2:38 left. Again Chicago was unable to convert and regulation ended with the score 2-2.
Overtime-Seabrook couldn’t find the mark on a couple of attempts in the first minute. Saad wound up leading Versteeg on a 2-on-1 midway through the extra period and got the puck to the front of the net but Bobrovsky was there with the pad save.
Crawford made a glove save on Matt Calvert’s attempt, but it was mostly Chicago pressuring the Blue Jackets in overtime. No goals were scored and the teams prepared to shoot it out.
Shootout-Crawford shut the five-hole on Atkinson. Toews got Bobrovsky down but couldn’t elevate over the right pad. Johansen tried a backhand but Crawford turned the puck away. Kane tried going high with the backhand but was stopped. Nick Foligno missed the net but Sharp sent his attempt over the goal.
Calvert sent a puck off of Crawford’s pads in the fourth round. Richards forehand attempt was stopped. Morin skated in from the left side and got a shot over Crawford’s glove but Andrew Shaw kept the Hawks alive by going top shelf. Connauton’s attempt was gloved by Crawford in the sixth round. Hossa went wide and slapped a shot that Bobrovsky knocked away.
Dubinsky was denied by Crawford’s blocker and Versteeg was stopped by a pad save. Wennberg put an attempt into Crawford’s glove. Saad beat Bobrovsky but the puck struck the left post. Johnson got Crawford moving and tossed a forehand into the open net. Bryan Bickell was stopped by Bobrovsky to end the contest in favor of Columbus.
Three Stars-Skille (third), Johnson (second), Bobrovsky (first).
-The Blackhawks outshot Columbus 41-19 and won the faceoff battle 33-25 and still lost the game. Bobrovsky, as he has numerous times this season, won a game for his out-manned squad.
-Crawford wasn’t bad in his return, but the guy in the opposite net was the better man Saturday.
-Seabrook had a nice game on the defensive side, helping stop several potential scoring opportunities by hitting the deck.
-Smith’s goal was a prime example of how replay should work. I know I didn’t see him get a stick on the puck until the play was slowed down. Another gritty goal that helps earn the Hawks at least a point on the night.
-Carcillo was used sparingly, with just five minutes of ice time. He skated one 28 second shift in the third period.
-The Hawks return to Chicago to host the Maple Leafs at 6:00 p.m.