Blackhawks

Stalberg Saves Blackhawks In Shootout

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Kris Russell, Jake Dowell

Kris Russell, Jake Dowell (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

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The Chicago Blackhawks took an early lead, scoring twice in the first six minutes of the game. The Blue Jackets retaliated scoring a goal in each period and taking the lead in the third. A late goal for the Hawks in the third period tied the game before Viktor Stalberg scored the game winning goal in a shootout.

Viktor Stalberg had the only goal in the shootout and Corey Crawford made 31 saves in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.

The two points were precious for the defending Stanley Cup champs. The Blackhawks are eighth in the Western Conference, the last position for a playoff spot.

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist and Brent Seabrook and Bryan Bickell also scored for Chicago.

Derick Brassard, Maksim Mayorov and Samuel Pahlsson scored for the Blue Jackets, Anton Stralman had career highs with three assists and points and Antoine Vermette added two assists.

Going sixth overall, Stalberg improved to 2 for 2 in shootouts this season.

Stalberg swooped in on Mathieu Garon, faked and stuck a backhand into the net.

Both teams were missing their leading goal scorers.

The Blackhawks were without Patrick Sharp, who has 34 goals. He missed his fifth game with a knee injury, but will be re-evaluated Sunday and is expected to play next week.

The Blue Jackets were without captain Rick Nash, who has 32, for the second straight night. He’s day to day with an undisclosed lower-body injury. They also did not have top goalie Steve Mason, who sustained a minor injury in a 4-3 overtime loss at Washington on Thursday night. Garon had 23 saves.

In a wild, entertaining third period filled with end-to-end rushes, the Blue Jackets took a 3-2 lead with 6:38 left in regulation when Pahlsson redirected yet another Stralman shot from the point.

But just over 90 seconds later, Chicago squared things again when Bickell’s seemingling innocent slap shot from just inside the offensive zone ricocheted off Stralman’s stick and eluded Garon.

In the overtime, Garon stymied Marian Hossa on a 2-on-1 and also made a kick save on Stalberg.

Unable to score on their last 42 opportunities with a man advantage, the Blue Jackets finally broke through on a two-man advantage. Brassard found the net with a hard, rising slap shot from the top of the left circle to tie it at 2 after the club went 11 full games without scoring on the power play.

The Blackhawks gave them plenty of chances to end the drought, picking up seven penalties through the first two periods.

Early on it appeared the Blackhawks were going to have an easy night. Just 2:41 in, Kane cruised in on the left wing on a 2 on 1 and his hard wrister provided his 26th goal of the season. Just seconds after a Columbus flurry, Chris Campoli sprung Kane with a long pass off the side glass to set up the rush.

Just over 3 minutes later Chicago – with the NHL’s second most productive power play – made it 2-0 when Seabrook converted a seeing-eye, cross-ice pass from Kane.

The lead was cut in half midway through the period when Mayorov redirected Stralman’s shot from the end of the blue line. Mayorov, who turned 22 earlier this week, had his stick extended at shoulder height to deflect the puck past Crawford. The Russian had the only score in a shootout Tuesday night in a 3-2 victory over Florida.

NOTES: Kane has 10 goals and 18 assists in 24 games vs. Columbus. … The Blackhawks are 17-1-2 when Kane has multiple points this season, and are 59-8-10 in his four-year NHL career. … Stralman was playing his second game in as many nights after missing 15 games with a knee injury.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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