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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Hawks 6, Jackets 1

By Jesse Rogers

Here's a quick look at the Hawks' blowout of the Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon.

How it happened: The Hawks responded after Columbus scored first, netting the next six goals. Derick Brassard tallied after a brutal turnover by Sami Lepisto in the Hawks' zone, but a few minutes later Jonathan Toews burst around the left end with forward Jeff Carter defending to tie the game at 1-1. It was Toews 29th goal of the season. Viktor Stalberg then scored his 8th of the year against Columbus after a nice feed by Bryan Bickell. In the second period, after a long shift in their own zone, the Hawks scored on the other end when Patrick Kane made a picture-perfect pass to Patrick Sharp for the tally. Then Kane scored himself going through the legs of a defenseman and goalie Steve Mason, who was pulled after that fourth goal and seen jawing at his coach, Todd Richards on the bench. In the third, Marcus Kruger scored from in front of the net from a nice feed by Andrew Brunette and then Lepisto came back from a benching to score his first as a Hawk on a point shot.

What it means: It’s the Hawks' fifth win against Columbus this season and it’s another step in the right direction for a team still reeling from a long losing streak. Responding both in net and in front of Corey Crawford after the Jackets scored first was one of the keys. Lepitso’s turnover sent him to the bench for the second period but John Scott moved back to play defense as the Hawks had seven blue-liners dressed and it helped even out the minutes, considering they play again on Sunday. For the second straight game Hawks’ stars finished on scoring chances and the defense got some shots through from the point. The key sequence in the game came after Dave Bolland’s line was stuck in its end while the game was just 2-1, but after finally clearing the puck Sharp scored his goal and the Hawks had a cushion. The blowout ensued. The Hawks improved to 31-21-7 and finish their long road trip on a mini-roll scoring 10 goals in the final two contests.

The road trip: A horrendous first seven games to the trip ends on a high note after wins in the final two contests. The Hawks went 2-6-1 overall but will build off the finish against the best and the worst in the NHL.

What’s next: The Hawks finally return home for their first game there since January 24. They’ll take on the St. Louis Blues who played Saturday afternoon as well.