The Chicago Blackhawks picked up two big points on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Wild. But if they want to reach the playoffs they’ll have to have that same result again Friday night.
The Blackhawks picked up those two points despite the absence of their coach in their last game.
They may be without Joel Quenneville again Friday night when they try to stop the Columbus Blue Jackets’ five-game road win streak.
Chicago (29-22-6) was stunned by the news that Quenneville was admitted to the hospital early Wednesday morning after he started feeling discomfort at home late Tuesday. There was no update before or after the Blackhawks’ 3-1 win that night over Minnesota.
“He is currently in stable condition and is being treated for an undisclosed health concern today, not of cardiac nature,” team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement. “Further testing is ongoing and we will provide an update when possible.”
Assistant Mike Haviland was the acting coach, and Chicago responded with two power-play goals. Troy Brouwer put the Blackhawks ahead for good with one of them in the third period.
“We just knew what we had to do and what Q wanted us to do, compete and work hard and not change everything,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “Havi was great behind the bench. He had full control of everything and showed his experience as a head coach and a leader, and did a great job.”
The Blackhawks are 6 for 21 on the power play during a 2-0-2 stretch. Dave Bolland, who assisted on all three goals Wednesday, has assists on Chicago’s last four power-play tallies.
“We can’t get too ahead of ourselves and try to make the pretty play,” Bolland said. “If we make the simple play and that puck in, we’re going to do wonders and we’re going to do a great job.”
Columbus (28-23-6) is seeking to win six in a row on the road for the first time in franchise history. Former Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason has been in goal for all of those wins, posting a 1.19 goals-against average in that span.
Mason, though, was suffering from bronchitis Wednesday. Mathieu Garon started in a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
The Blue Jackets rallied three times from one-goal deficits, tying the game at 3 on Kris Russell’s goal with 1:23 left in the third period.
“It’s big to get the point,” captain Rick Nash said. “It shows how much character we have. We fought through a little adversity. With the lines getting mixed up like that it’s tough to keep a flow. It’s a good point.”
Nash had a goal and two assists despite playing mostly without linemate Derick Brassard, who lasted 43 seconds before leaving when a puck hit his left hand. Brassard, third on the team with 39 points, was placed on injured reserve Thursday and will be out at least two weeks.
That’s good news for Chicago since Brassard scored once in each of the last three meetings. The Blackhawks have won three of four over the Blue Jackets, limiting Nash to one assist.
Patrick Sharp has five goals and two assists in the season series. He has 11 goals and seven assists during a 13-game point streak against Columbus.
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