Sharp Scores Twice, Blackhawks Win 4-1
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(WSCR) – The return of Hossa to the Blackhawks’ lineup welcomed by fans as the Blue Jackets struggled to earn their only goal. Chicago scored early and kept Columbus scoreless until the third period.
Patrick Sharp scored two goals and Marty Turco made 26 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday night for their fourth straight win.
Turco lost a bid for his second shutout this season with 2:26 left in the third period when Derick Brassard scored on a screened power-play goal.
But Turco won for the first time since since Nov. 17 when he made 18 saves in a 5-0 victory at Edmonton. He started on Sunday when rookie Corey Crawford, who started Chicago’s previous four games and 10 of its last 12, didn’t dress due to an undisclosed illness.
Tomas Kopecky and Dave Bolland also scored for Chicago, which has allowed just five goals during its winning streak.
Blackhawks star forward Marian Hossa returned after missing 10 games with a lower body injury and assisted on Chicago’s first two goals.
The Blackhawks, however, placed Patrick Kane, who led them with 88 points last season, on injured reserved on Sunday. He missed his eighth game with an injured left ankle.
Columbus goalie Mathieu Garon blocked 21 shots, including a stop of Jack Skille’s penalty shot late in the second. Still, the Blue Jackets lost their second straight and are 1-4-2 in their last seven.
Hossa made an immediate impact, setting up Kopecky’s goal 7 minutes into the first period for the only score of the period.
Hossa skated down right wing from center ice, circled the Columbus net and then centered to Kopecky, who fired from the right side of the crease.
Turco was especially sharp in the second half of the first to keep Columbus off the board. He come up with several point-blank saves during a five-minute stretch when the Blue Jackets outshot the Blackhawks 9-0.
Both goalies made a handful of close-in saves during the scoreless second, including one by Garon on Skille’s penalty shot with 3:16 left.
Skille was awarded the first penalty shot of his career after he broke in alone on Garon, and Columbus’ Rostislav Klesla dove on the ice and tripped him with his stick. On the attempt, Garon blocked Skille’s backhander with his shoulder.
Sharp made it 2-0 at 1:22 of the third, on a play from a faceoff and just six seconds into a Chicago power played. He ripped in a shot from the top of the right circle.
Bolland’s power-play goal with 8:50 left in the third made it 3-0. He fired into an empty net with Garon down.
Sharp fired in his team-leading 20th goal 37 seconds later from the slot to make it 4-0. Brassard completed the scoring with 2:26 remaining on a shot from the left circle.
Notes: The Blackhawks recalled G Hannu Toivonen from Rockford of the AHL on to back up Turco for Sunday’s game. Also back for Chicago was LW Viktor Stalberg, who sat out three games with concussion-like symptoms. Chicago D Jordan Hendry and C Ryan Johnson were healthy scratches. .Columbus healthy scratches were C Andrew Murray, D Mike Commodore and RW Chris Clark.
Updated December 26, 2010