Game 50: Jackets squander early efforts, lose 7-4

Despite an early penalty by Kristian Huselius, the Blue Jackets came out roaring. Just six seconds in, Huselius was whistled for tripping, but the ensuing Hawks power play was unable to get anything going against the buzzing Jackets. Just under four minutes into the game, Derek Dorsett took a pass from Kris Russell and crashed the net to chip the puck past Marty Turco. 1-0, Jackets. From there, although playing a solid game, the Jackets coughed up two poor goals to Chicago: one from Nick Leddy and one from Duncan Keith (5 on 3), both from far out in the zone. It got more unusual from there: with 39.6 seconds to go, the teams were sent to the locker room with dimmed lights, and the time added to the second period. End of the First: Chicago 2, Columbus 1.

An intermission and uneventful 39.6 seconds later, the second began with a few missed opportunities by the Blue Jackets, before a beautiful pass one-legged from Rick Nash across the front of the crease hit Brassard’s stick and was whipped past Turco. 2-2. Just forty-two seconds later, before anybody was settled back down into their seats, Samuel Pahlsson tossed a puck through traffic and in. 3-2 Jackets, and the momentum in their favor, but not for long. Two and a half minutes later, an odd Jackets linechange enabled Victor Stalberg to get in deep and score on the doorstep. Tie game, 3-3.  The Hawks then jumped back to a lead when Patrick Kane ripped a shot from — you guessed it — the slot and hit the back of the net. 4-3 Chicago. The momentum had suddenly shifted in Chicago’s favor with Steve Mason looking shaky in front of his net. With less than a minute to go, and with the Jackets on the power play, Joanathan Toews was able to walk around Grant Clitsome and dump the puck five hole and into the net. End of the second: Chicago 5, Columbus 3. Advantage Chicago.

When the teams returned to the ice for the third period, they were led by goaltender Mathieu Garon in relief of Steve Mason. The period started quiet – on the scoresheet at least – but the bodies were flying. RJ Umberger literally upended Seabrook and Marc Methot leveled Patrick Kane, causing a less than fantastic bout between Methot and Brouwer. Chicago scored shortly thereafter, Dave Bolland on Mathieu Garon from up high: strangely (or not) the same place most of the goals were scored all night. 6-3, Blackhawks, but not for long. A minute and a half later, Matt Calvert broke in on Turco and despite having a Blackhawk draped all over him, managed to deke Turco and push one past him to bring it the score to 6-4. The Jackets would get a powerplay opportunity late with Garon pulled, but couldn’t get anything going. Marian Hossa capitalized on the empty net to close out the scoring. Final Score: 7-4 Blackhawks. Another great start squandered in the middle frame although they held the advantage in hits, shots, and quite often, momentum.

Notable Numbers:
- Anton Stralman: -3
- Rick Nash: 6 shots on goal
- Kris Russell, Grant Clitsome, Samuel Pahlsson: +1
- Niklas Hjalmarsson: 5 blocked shots

Tonight’s Dud: Anton Stralman. Minus three. A few decent chances up front, but a gaping hole on defense. Honorable mention: Steve Mason.
Tonight’s Stud: Rick Nash. Tricky stickhandling and passing. A very Rick-Nash night for Rick Nash. #OMGRN.

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