In the end, all the mattered to the Chicago Blackhawks
was the end result.
The Hawks wasted a two-goal lead, took some bad penalties and missed plenty of scoring opportunities. But in the end, they went home with a big two points when Viktor Stalberg scored the only goal of the shootout to give Chicago a 4-3 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
Corey Crawford made 31 saves through 65 minutes and three more in the shootout as the Hawks improved to 92 points, keeping them three up on ninth-place Calgary.
"Nothing wrong with that, we'll take anything we can get right now," coach Joel Quenneville said after enumerating everything that had gone wrong. "When you're down late in the game, it turns out to be a huge win for us."
For a team trailing by a goal with just over five minutes left in regulation, the win could end up being especially important.
"It's a big extra point for us in the standings," Stalberg said.
Stalberg, the sixth shooter in the tiebreaker, scored for the second time in as many tries this season when he raced in on Mathieu Garon, faked and popped a backhander into the net.
"So far, so good, I guess," he said with a laugh. "We do it a lot in practice. I try to score as much as I can there. (Quenneville) asked me a couple of weeks ago if I wanted to go if we got a chance. We haven't had any shootouts since."
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist and Brent Seabrook and Bryan Bickell also scored for Chicago. Bickell's goal came with 5:03 remaining in regulation and Columbus leading 3-2. Bickell took a 45-footer near the left boards from beyond the top of the circle that ricocheted off a defenseman's stick and surprised Garon.
"It's kind of funny, most of my goals come from out there. I was just trying to (create) a rebound there. Good things happen when you throw it on net," Bickell said. "It was a big clutch goal. To push it into overtime and then get it in the shootout - that's a big two points for us."
Maksim Mayorov, Derick Brassard and Samuel Pahlsson scored for the Blue Jackets, who overcame an early 2-0 deficit after Kane and Seabrook scored in the opening 5:49. Anton Stralman had a career-best 3 assists and Antoine Vermette added two.
Mayorov had his first NHL goal midway through the first period and Brassard tied it at 14:03 of the second during a 5-on-3 advantage -- ending Columbus' 0-for-42 drought on the power play.
Both teams were missing their leading goal scorers: The Hawks were without Patrick Sharp due to a knee injury, while the Jackets played their second straight game without Rick Nash. He's been sidelined with a lower-body injury. Columbus was also without starting goaltender Steve Mason, who sustained a minor injury in a 4-3 overtime loss at Washington on Thursday night.
Columbus, all but out of the playoff race for several weeks, dropped to 5-8 in shootouts.
"It tells you we're close," coach Scott Arniel said of his team's 13 shootouts, second in the League to Calgary's 16. "We've made a decision as a League that we're going to entertain at the end of the night and we're not going to go home with a tie game. We'll work on the shootout part … but we don't back off in overtime. These guys learn how to play in pressure-packed situations. It's unfortunate we've lost so many shootout games, but we've done a great job of learning how to play under pressure."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report