Crawford, Kane Lift Blackhawks Over Blue Jackets
Determined not to add to their recent back-to-back losses during the previous week, the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in a shootout at Nationwide Arena on Thursday night.
The Blackhawks, having not played in four days, shook off a bit of rust in the first period to eventually take over the remaining 20-30 minutes of play against a recently hot Blue Jackets team.
The Hawks peppered Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky with 40 shots on goal through the five minute overtime period, notching 13 alone in the third period, where they came close to breaking the 1-1 tie, but couldn't put it away.
Bobrovsky, who was the NHL's first star of the week, was the reason the Blue Jackets came away with a point at the end of the night, stopping 39 of 40 shots on goal and earning the first star of the game honors.
On the opposite side of the ice, Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford was just as solid, stopping 29 of 30 shots on net, as well as only allowing one goal in the shootout to give the Blackhawks their league best 22nd win on the season.
In a game that only saw three minor penalties and matching fighting majors for both teams, both clubs got their fair share of scoring chances, but the battle of the goaltenders made it more than difficult.
Chicago kicked off the scoring first, however, with a beautiful saucer pass from Patrick Kane across the high slot to a pinching Johnny Oduya who roofed his wrist shot over the shoulder of Bobrovsky to make it 1-0 with about three minutes left in the second period.
Columbus answered just a minute later on the power play, when Jack Johnson's rocket of a slap shot from the point got past Corey Crawford to tie the game at 1-1.
The Blackhawks were able to once again rely on the slick moves of both team captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the shootout and even a hot Bobrovsky could not come through with the stops.
Toews made a nice quick shot from the high slot as he skated in with speed and put the puck right through Bobrovsky's five-hole, taking him by surprise. Kane, used his stick handling skills to force Bobrovsky to commit early and made an easy backhand shot right under the cross bar.
The extra point gave Chicago a league-best 47 points on the season.
The Blackhawks travel to Dallas to take on the Stars on Saturday, March 16th at 7 pm CT. Chicago beat the Stars 3-2 in overtime on January 24th in their only other meeting thus far.