Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw both tallied
twice, as Chicago trounced Columbus for the 12th consecutive time, 6-1, at
Bryan Bickell and Brandon Bollig also hit the back of the net for the
Blackhawks, winners in two of three to keep pace in the race for the
Central Division crown. St. Louis beat Nashville by a 2-1 count to remain two
"We're motivated to build ourselves into the team we want to be come playoff
time, but that adds to it to keep us honest, to make sure we're competing the
right way every night," Toews said of the division race.
Brent Seabrook and Marcus Kruger each collected two assists, while Corey
Crawford stopped 22 shots.
Ryan Johansen provided the lone offense for the Blue Jackets, who saw their
three-game win streak halted and have not beaten their former division rivals
since a 4-3 decision on Feb. 18, 2011.
"I thought we lacked intensity. It wasn't everyone. We had some guys that
wanted to get involved, but there were too many guys who weren't involved in
the game," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 18 shots in 32-plus minutes to take the
loss. Curtis McElhinney finished the contest with 13 stops.
Ahead by a goal, Chicago locked up the contest with three strikes in the
Toews provided a 3-1 margin at the eight-minute mark of the second when
he tapped in a Brandon Saad pass at the right post, and Bickell boosted the
home advantage to 4-1 with 12:29 gone off a Kris Versteeg rebound which sent
Bobrovsky to the bench.
Seabrook's left-point blast with 2:16 before intermission was deflected home
by Shaw and gave Chicago a 5-1 edge.
Patrick Kane fed Toews for a rising shot over a seated McElhinney for a power-
play strike and 6-1 advantage at 3:04 of the third.
Bollig's backhanded shot put the hosts on the board with 4:12 gone in the
first period, then Johansen evened the score just prior to the eight-minute
Shaw sent the Blackhawks to intermission up by a goal, when he cruised up the
right wing and beat Bobrovsky to the near side.
Thursday's contest marked the first time the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets
squared off as inter-conference rivals. Columbus was placed in the Central
Division along with Chicago upon its 2000 inception and remained their until
this season ... Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin left the game in the
first period, returned in the second, then left once more and did not return
with what is being called an upper-body injury.
The Sports Network