CHICAGO -- The longest road winning streak in the Blue
Jackets' history has Columbus inching back into a congested Western
Conference playoff race.
Matt Calvert added a goal and an assist for Columbus, which
improved to 6-1-1 in its last eight, including a franchise-record
six straight road victories. The Blue Jackets pulled into a tie
with Chicago for 11th in the standing with 64 points, four points
back of the final playoff spot.
"I just felt we were giving them a little too much respect,"
said Columbus coach Scott Arniel, whose team fell behind 2-1 in the
first period. "We've had success in the last three or four weeks
because we haven't gotten intimidated by any team we're playing.
"I thought tonight we had a little bit of that. We were giving
them too much room to work instead of being up on our toes."
Patrick Sharp had two goals and assisted on a score by Patrick Kane as the Blackhawks' top line -- along with Jonathan Toews --
accounted for all of Chicago's offense. Kane and Toews both had two
"The second period we came back and played good hockey and
turned the game around," said Stralman, whose power-play goal late
in the second period -- and his first score in more than a year --
stood up as the game-winner.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville missed his second straight
game after being hospitalized on Wednesday morning with
gastrointestinal bleeding caused by an ulcer. In a statement, team
physician Dr. Michael Terry said the condition was brought on by
aspirin, but club officials have not dicussed a possible return
Assistant coach Mike Haviland was in charge behind bench again
on Friday for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have been
plagued by inconsistency and lapses, and are trying to move back
into playoff position in the West.
"We've got to bear down," Haviland said. "I thought they
started outworking us. It's unacceptable this time of year."
Sharp said: "It's a huge loss. It's disappointing. It's clear
the letdown in the second period had us skating uphill at the
Calvert opened the scoring 5:32 in with a highlight reel goal.
After blocking Duncan Keith's shot from the right point, Calvert
raced down the ice with the puck while fighting off Chicago
defenseman Nick Leddy. Calvert capped the effort by sliding in a
backhand shot after he had left his feet to make a move. Sharp then
scored on consecutive shifts to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead as
the Blackhawks began to dominate.
Sharp tied it at 1 at 7:32 on a breakaway. He was sent in alone
on crisp pass from Kane after Kane picked off Grant Clitsome's pass
in the neutral zone. Sharp then put Chicago ahead at 10:04 with his
30th goal, rifled in from the slot after he took a behind-the-net
feed from Toews.
Vermette, MacKenzie and Stralman then scored in the nearly
6-minute stretch to put Columbus ahead 4-2.
Vermette's power-play goal on a rebound midway through the
second tied it. MacKenzie made it 3-2 with 7:32 left in the second
when he poked in a loose puck that trickled through Crawford's pads
following a save on Calvert.
Stralman made it 4-2 just over 3 minutes later on a screened
shot during a power-play for his first goal in more than a year.
Kane replied 21 seconds later and cut it to 4-3 after taking a pass
from Toews to complete a 2-on-1 break.
Stralman took a delay of game penalty with 2:28 left when he
shot the puck over the glass, but the Blackhawks were unable to tie
it despite a late flurry.
Quenneville has been in regular contact with his coaching
staff. "I spoke to him this morning," Haviland said following
Friday's game-day skate. "You know he's actually going a little
stir-crazy there. He was in great spirits." ... Columbus C Derick
Brassard missed his first game after suffering an injured left hand
Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles. He was placed on
IR and is expected to miss two to three weeks. ... Blue Jackets D
Rostilav Klesla missed his 10th game with a knee injury. ...
Chicago C Ryan Johnson and RW Fernando Pisani both sat out with