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Stalberg scores twice early in third to lead Blackhawks past Blue Jackets, 5-2

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CHICAGO - Viktor Stalberg scored his first two goals of the season just 1:58 apart early in the third period to snap a tie, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Saturday night.

Stalberg put Chicago ahead 3-2 at 4:26 of the third during a 4-on-4. He raced down the right wing, cut to the net and fired a shot between the legs of Columbus defenceman James Wisniewski and goalie Allen York's pads.

Stalberg struck again at 6:24 to make it 4-2. Left wide open at the right edge of the crease, he converted Andrew Brunette's centring pass.

Chicago rookie Marcus Kruger scored his first NHL goal, and Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik also connected for the Blackhawks (6-2-2).

Vinny Prospal and Derek MacKenzie scored for the injury-plagued Blue Jackets (1-9-1), who have the NHL's worst record and are off to the poorest start in franchise history.

Chicago's Ray Emery made 27 saves in his second start this season as the Blue Jackets faced a backup goalie for the third straight game.

York blocked 33 shots in his first NHL start. Previously, he had logged just 2:33 of ice time, in relief of Blue Jackets No. 1 goalie Steve Mason last Tuesday, and hadn't faced a shot.

Columbus played without five regular skaters, plus goalies Mark Dekanich and Curtis Sanford. Dekanich had been expected to back up Mason this season and Sanford is considered the No. 3 goalie in the Blue Jackets' organization.

Three apparent goals by Chicago and one by Columbus were disallowed.

Kruger opened the scoring from the crease just 2:51 in, popping in a rebound of Jamal Mayers' long shot. Prospal tied it at 1-1 just over three minutes later when he fired in a perfect cross-ice feed from Fedor Tyutin before Emery could move across the crease.

Bolland finished a short-handed breakaway with 1:39 left in the first to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Despite being pulled down from behind by Columbus defenceman Grant Clitsome, Bolland managed to slide the puck past York.

MacKenzie scored the only goal of the second, with 5:58 left, to tie it at 2-2. He lofted in a shot from the right circle after Emery couldn't control a rebound of Rick Nash's attempt from the left side.

Stalberg put Chicago ahead 3-2, less than a minute after an apparent power-play goal by the Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp had been waved off because of a penalty on Chicago's Bryan Bickell. Stalberg extended it to 4-2 on his next shift.

Frolik scored into an empty net with three seconds left.

NOTES: Chicago LW Dan Carcillo sat out the first game of a two-game suspension for an illegal check on Hurricanes D Joni Pitkanen on Friday night in Carolina. Chicago D Sean O'Donnell was a healthy scratch for the first time this season In the Blackhawks lineup were D Sami Lepisto, a scratch for eight straight games, and LW John Scott, who had appeared in only two previous contests. Out with injuries for Columbus were C Jeff Carter (broken right foot), RW Jared Boll (broken right thumb), LW Kristian Huselius (torn pectoral muscle), D Radek Martinek (concussion), D Marc Methot (broken right thumb), and Dekanich (high ankle sprain) and Sanford (groin). Columbus' previous worst start through 11 games was in 2000-01, its inaugural season, when it was 2-8-0-1 (5 points).

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