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Blue Jackets rally for 3-2 win at Chicago

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The Columbus Blue Jackets weathered Chicago's early storm and found a way to win.

The Blackhawks appeared to be cruising to an easy win when they carried a 2-0 lead into the final minute of the second period. But the Jackets got a goal before intermission and two more early in the third period to leave the United Center with a 3-2 victory.

The Jackets (4-3-0) got goals from Derick Brassard,R.J. Umberger andAntoine Vermette and a great outing by goalieSteve Mason, who allowed two early goals but finished with 30 saves.

Columbus outshot Chicago 20-8 in the third period and 40-32 for the game, aided by 6:31 of time on the power play in the third. That included 4:31 of a five-minute boarding major called on Troy Brouwer just seven seconds after Brassard made it 2-1 at 19:24 of the second period.

The sequence turned out to be a major swing for the Blue Jackets, who crept back into the game after Brassard beat goalieCorey Crawford on a one-timer from the slot off a pass byJakub Voracek.

"That was the game," said Brassard, who scored his first goal of the season. "It changed the game a lot. I was at the end of my shift. I almost went to the bench, but (Voracek) had pretty good speed, so I was kind of following and the puck went in."

Umberger's tying goal at 1:33 of the third, during Brouwer's penalty, came when he deflected a shot byFedor Tyutin past Crawford. Vermette then deflected a shot byMarc Methot at 6:29 of the third for the game-winner. The puck caromed off Vermette's stick and went over Crawford's head and right shoulder into the net.

"I knew Methot was probably going to shoot it, and I kind of tried to read that," said Vermette, who also assisted on Umberger's goal. "I tried to go to high slot and change direction on it. I was pretty lucky - just at the right spot at the right moment."

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored for Chicago, which lost its second game in as many nights after appearing on its way to a comfortable win. In each of Chicago's four regulation losses, the Hawks allowed the game-winning goal in the third period.

That trend is grating on coach Joel Quenneville, a defenseman during his playing days who's more concerned about his team's defensive play than the offense.

"The next goal's very timely when it's tied (in the third)," he said. "You've got to take pride in being on the ice and defending. There will always be enough production here. It's just commitment to playing without the puck."

Asked to assess his team after it played 10 games in 17 days, Quenneville said 5-4-1 is a pretty indicative mark of the defending Stanley Cup champs.

"We've got to be way better than we've been," he said. "Losing two tough games in a row when we should have got something both nights and four losses in regulation in the later stages of the third period … that's the tough part. We definitely left some meat on the table here today."

Hawks forward Tomas Kopecky didn't play because of an upper-body injury andEvan Brophey was called up from Rockford of the American Hockey League to replace him.

Quenneville shook up the top two lines by reuniting Kane with Toews and moving Sharp to the line's left wing from center of the second line. The new combination produced great results early. It led to several good scoring chances and produced the game's first goal at 7:23 of the first by Sharp - his eighth -- off a pass by Toews from behind the net.

Toews then scored his second of the season at 14:45 on a power play to make it 2-0, banging home a rebound of a shot by Brouwer. Sharp assisted on the goal, giving him 11 points on the season and vaulting him into the League's top five scoring leaders.

His goal tied him with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos for the League lead.

The Jackets improved to 3-0-0 on the road, as opposed to 1-3-0 at home. It was also the third time they've bounced back to win a game on the road after a loss the previous day. It's the second Saturday in a row that they bounced back with a victory after a poor effort in a Friday night loss at home.

"It's a great character win," Vermette said. "It's a big win. Hopefully we can use the momentum and get a couple in a row now."

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