BLACKHAWKS (22-2-3) 2, BLUE JACKETS (10-12-6) 1 - SHOOTOUT
NATIONWIDE ARENA | COLUMBUS, OH
The only way the night could have been better is if the Blue Jackets picked up the extra point for Sergei Bobrovsky. If anything, "Bob" isn't buying steak dinners for an extended period of time.
On a night when both the Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks traded momentum like it was the floor of the stock exchange, a rocking crowd of 15,009 at Nationwide Arena took it all in and loved every second of it -- especially in what was one of the more entertaining overtime periods we've seen in a while. The end result, however, was a 2-1 shootout loss for Columbus tonight but it extended their points streak to a franchise-record nine consecutive games, breaking the previous record set Jan. 15 to Feb. 6, 2001.
And Bobrovsky - who was named the No. 1 star of the game for the fourth straight night on home ice - nearly stole it for Columbus. He made 39 saves (equaling a season-high) but none was better than his overtime robbery of Dave Bolland, who looked to have the game on his stick and a wide open cage. Bobrovsky dove back and smothered the shot, saving the winning tally and bringing the Blue Jacket faithful to their feet.
It took a while for the pace to really pick up in this game, but once it did, there was a playoff-like intensity and competitive level to this game that had the arena buzzing. The second period was a back-and-forth, ragged at times 20 minutes where both clubs had chances to break through, and in the latter stages, it was Chicago that drew first blood in the final edition of this divisional showdown.
Patrick Kane, in his one his few visible moments in regulation and overtime, saucered a perfect pass across the zone to Johnny Oduya, who cut to the net and snapped a quick shot over Bobrovsky's glove at 16:54 of the middle period. The lead lasted just 42 seconds though, as the Blue Jackets went to the power play shortly after the Oduya tally.
Brandon Dubinsky won a face-off cleanly to Derick Brassard, who left the puck on a tee for Jack Johnson. Much like he did last weekend against the Red Wings, Johnson rocketed a slap shot over Corey Crawford to tie things up at 1-1.
The overtime was worth the price of admission alone: up and down the rink they went, with several scoring chances and near misses -- including a would-be goal of the year candidate from Nick Foligno that scraped the outside of the post after a nasty series of stickhandling maneuvers.
Jonathan Toews and Kane scored in the shootout to give the Blackhawks the extra point.
The early part of the third period was mostly controlled by the Blackhawks, who spent a series of shifts with the puck deep in Blue Jackets territory. It seemed like Columbus had to work its collective tails off just to get a line change, and Todd Richards had to use his 30-second timeout to get the fourth line a breather during that stretch. The one constant through that turbulent period was Bobrovsky, who made a handful of big stops to keep the game level and give the Blue Jackets a chance to work through the pressure.
- Columbus has set a new franchise record by recording a point in nine consecutive games (5-0-4). The previous mark of eight (4-0-2-2) was set between Jan. 16 and Feb. 6, 2001.
- Johnson scored for the third time in six games on Thursday, wiring home a slap shot during a second period power play. Johnson also led all Blue Jackets skaters with four blocked shots and 29:05 TOI.
- Derick Brassard assisted on Johnson’s goal to extend his point streak to four games (1-3-4).
- Cam Atkinson led all Columbus forwards with five shots on goal tonight, and was all around the puck alongside line mates Dubinsky and Matt Calvert.
vs. Phoenix Coyotes
Saturday, 7 p.m.