Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Jackets 2
How it happened: Viktor Stalberg had a huge night, scoring three goals as the Hawks broke out of their funk. The Hawks ran into some trouble early and had to kill off a couple of instigator penalties before they took control of the game. In fact, on the second one -- to Jamal Mayers -- the home team tallied shorthanded to open the scoring in the middle period. The sequence was all Marian Hossa, who stole a puck in the neutral zone, shook of a defender and flipped a perfect pass to Dave Bolland who was heading toward the slot. It was Bolland’s 10th goal of the year and third shorthanded.
After the Jackets tied it on an R.J. Umberger score, the Hawks regained the lead for good when Patrick Kane found Stalberg in the slot after some nice cycling by that line with Jonathan Toews. Stalberg added two other scores in the third. The first came after a fantastic shift when he drew a delayed penalty but held the puck long enough for the extra man to enter the play. Eventually it came back to him after a point shot for the back-breaking goal. Seconds later Ben Smith added more insurance with a back-hand, top shelf score though the Jackets got one back but it’s as close as they came. Stalberg closed out the scoring with an empty-netter.
What it means: It’s a much needed two points to break a four game losing streak. While Columbus hung around for a lot of the game it was mostly due to getting some favorable calls in the way of the instigator penalties, one of which -- to Steve Montador -- included an extra two minutes for starting a fight with a visor on. But the Hawks penalty killing was up to the task because things could have gone south quickly in the first period when the Hawks had to kill six straight minutes of penalty time. As in most close games a shorthanded goal can be a difference maker and it sparked the Hawk,s who never trailed, extending a 2-1, second intermission lead into a near route in the third. Nick Leddy continued some bad luck and poor play as he was on the ice for both Columbus goals.
What’s next: The Hawks have a practice day Wednesday before taking on the Minnesota Wild Thursday night at the United Center.