The Blue Jackets were 16-plus minutes through a relatively calm opening period before Jonathan Toews’ goal seemed to deflate them.
It was one of the only off-the-rush chances yielded by the Blue Jackets, who spent the past four days practicing in an attempt to severely cut down on odd-man rushes against. Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy did most of the work to move the puck through the neutral zone, and Toews’ low wrist shot beat Steve Mason between the legs for a 2-1 Chicago lead late in the period.
Chicago led the shot total 16-5 after the first period but many of the Blackhawks’ attempts were from the perimeter. In the second period, it was a different story.
Jared Boll’s roughing penalty late in the first period gave Chicago carryover penalty time in the second period. It did not take long for the Blackhawks to capitalize; Andrew Brunette – who has made a career around the net on the power play – roofed a tight-angle shot over Mason just 1:25 into the middle period for a 3-1 ‘Hawks lead.
Defenseman Steve Montador, playing as a forward on the Chicago power play tonight, tallied along with Patrick Kane in the second period as the Blackhawks took a 5-1 advantage after 40 minutes. Marian Hossa scored the sixth and final goal for Chicago early in the third period.
Newcomer Mark Letestu showed his nifty scoring touch with a power-play goal in the third period, taking a nice feed from Rick Nash and beating Corey Crawford five-hole at 2:20. Grant Clitsome scored two goals tonight, as well – the first multi-goal game of his NHL career.
The Blue Jackets have now dropped back-to-back home games after winning the previous two against the Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks.
Toews’ first goal was certainly disappointing, but giving up an early second-period goal was not what the Blue Jackets needed to get back in the game. Brunette was left alone at the side of the net and put a short-range rebound under the crossbar.
The two-goal lead stunted any Blue Jackets momentum to start the period, and the Blackhawks scored twice more before the period ended.
- The Blue Jackets scored two power play goals on five attempts tonight, marking the first time this season the club has scored multiple goals with the man advantage. The last time Columbus had two power play goals in a game was Feb. 27, 2011 at Nashville, a span of 35 games. Prior to tonight, Columbus was 1-for-20 the previous five games.
- Columbus is now 28-29-8 all-time against Chicago, including a 15-13-5 mark at Nationwide Arena.
- C Mark Letestu made his Blue Jackets debut tonight. He scored his first goal with the club in the third period and played in 16:36 of ice time. The goal was his first in 11 games as he last scored Apr. 10, 2011 at Atlanta with Pittsburgh.
- Fedor Tyutin picked up a helper on Letestu’s goal, his fourth assist of the season. He has collected 2-3-5 the past eight games after opening the season with 0-1-1 the first seven games.
vs. Winnipeg Jets
Nationwide Arena | Columbus, OH
Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports Ohio (HD)
Radio: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com