The Chicago Blackhawks needed just 4:10 to do their damage tonight.
The visiting team came out with the momentum and struck early against the Blue Jackets, who were behind 3-0 before the first period was nine minutes old. Chicago got goals from rookie Andrew Shaw, Patrick Sharp, and defenseman Brent Seabrook in a 5-1 victory in front of 15,311 at Nationwide Arena.
After a thrilling shootout victory in Calgary two nights earlier, the Blue Jackets struggled to string scoring chances together to dig out of an early hole. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was not summoned often, but he made saves when needed to keep Chicago’s four lines rolling after taking the lead.
Shaw was credited with the Blackhawks’ opening goal at 4:12 of the opening period, but Bryan Bickell did all the work to make it happen. Bickell beat Nikita Nikitin to the puck below the goal line and drove to the front of the net, sending a centering pass into the crease that Shaw tapped in for his 10th goal of the season.
Sharp scored his 29th of the year just 2:05 later from the deep left circle, a shot that appeared to catch Steve Mason by surprise. He initially looked to send the puck to the front, but opted to shoot from a tight angle and it squeezed between Mason’s glove-hand shoulder and the near post – making it 2-0 Chicago at 6:17. Seabrook’s wrister from the blue line may have deflected in off a Blue Jackets defenseman, but stood as the 3-0 marker at 8:22 of the first period. Sharp’s second goal of the game came 37 seconds into the third period, a high-slot one timer that beat Mason under the crossbar.
Marian Hossa scored the fifth Chicago goal – also a power-play tally – at the 4:09 mark of the third period off a cross-crease pass by Shaw to make it a 5-0 lead.
Rick Nash’s team-leading 25th goal of the season came at 12:31 of the third period, deflecting a point shot from Jack Johnson into the far corner to make it 5-1 Chicago.
The Blackhawks were ahead 2-0 after Sharp scored his first of the game, but Seabrook’s goal to make it 3-0 really seemed to deflate the Blue Jackets. It started as an innocent-looking floater from the blue line, but changed direction by hitting a Blue Jacket on the way in. At 3-0, the Blackhawks assumed control of the game and did not look back.
Nash snapped a seven game goalless skid with his 25th of the season tonight. It was his first goal since scoring Mar. 3 at Phoenix. It marks the eighth-straight season in which he has scored 25-or-more goals. In 55 career games against the Blackhawks, he has tallied 24-27-51.
Jack Johnson has points in five of the last nine games after recording an assist on Nash’s goal. He has 3-4-7 the last nine games, while playing 25-plus minutes in eight straight, including 25:05 tonight.
Aaron Johnson snapped an 11-game pointless skid with a helper on Nash’s goal. It also was his first assist in 20 games, as his last came Jan. 21 at Detroit.
vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, Ohio
Friday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan FM & BlueJackets.com