COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Here's a quick look at the Hawks win on Thursday night.
How it happened: It was near, complete domination by the Hawks when they needed it most, to snap a three-game losing skid. Columbus lived up to its cellar-dwelling status, playing awful from start to finish. But the Hawks needed a win and they got it, in part thanks to a struggling power-play unit that came through. Steve Montador, playing in the slot, had a goal and an assist on two second period man-advantage attempts after Jonathan Toews scored twice in the first period five-on-five. Patrick Kane added a break-away tally late in the second and the rout was on. Andrew Brunette also scored on the power play as a newly formed second unit did all the damage in that department. Marian Hossa added a tally in the third. In all, Hawks’ defenders had eight points in the game. The Jackets had little chance in this one.
What it means: The Hawks improved to 9-4-3 and if nothing else got a confidence boost against the worst team in the NHL. Joel Quenneville looked like a genius adding Marcus Kruger and Montador to the power play, but the story of the night was the Hawks' blue line. They contributed on offense by carrying the puck into the Jackets’ zone or by pinching to aid forwards down low. It’s the first real time this season the Hawks added offense from their defense and could be a turning point for them in that department. The visitors did give up two power play goals to the Jackets continuing a disturbing trend.
A Howe hat trick: Steve Montador earned a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal and an assist in the second period after fighting Derek Dorsett in the first. Both his points came on the power play. It was the first Gordie Howe hat trick by a Blackhawks’ player since Brent Seabrook did it in March of 2009.
What’s Next: The Hawks head back to Chicago after the game to take on the Calgary Flames Friday night.