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Blackhawks Tie Franchise-Best Start With 3-2 Win

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Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period on January 26, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Bryan Bickell #29 of the Chicago Blackhawks is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period on January 26, 2013 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —Jonathan Toews scored the game-winner early in the third period and Corey Crawford had 24 saves to help Chicago match the best start in franchise history with a 3-2 victory Saturday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets, running the Blackhawks’ record to 5-0-0.

The only other time the Blackhawks began a season 5-0-0 was 1971-72.

Patrick Kane had two assists for the Blackhawks, who have a 40-23-7 record all-time against the Blue Jackets. Crawford, who won for the fourth time this season, was solid all night but particularly when the Blackhawks were a man down.

Steve Mason held his own with 21 saves for the Blue Jackets, who lost their third in a row. A goal by Derick Brassard was waved off in the second period when the officials ruled Nick Foligno interfered with Crawford. That decision caused a sellout crowd of 18,381 to boo throughout the game.

Mark Letestu gave Columbus a 1-0 lead and Artem Anisimov scored late to make it interesting for the Blue Jackets, who have been outscored 12-3 in their losing skid.

Chicago killed all five penalties and was also 0 for 3 on the power play.

Toews, off of Kane’s second assist of the night, scored a big goal to put the Blackhawks up two goals 6:35 into the third after a turnover in the Chicago zone. Letestu’s pass was deflected by Marian Hossa with Kane retrieving it. He fired a blind, quick pass to Toews who was all alone behind the defense. Toews faked left, then right, before flipping the puck past Mason for his third of the year and a 3-1 lead.

Anisimov backhanded in Brandon Dubinsky’s wraparound attempt with 2:19 left in regulation, but the Blue Jackets could not get the equalizer.

With the score tied after a period, the Blackhawks picked up a goal at the 8:50 mark of the second.

Near the boards at the right corner of the blue line, Niklas Hjalmarsson’s hard, low drive into heavy traffic in front of the net was redirected by Bickell.

Columbus thought it had tied it moments later but the goal was disallowed, enflaming a capacity crowd.

On the power play after Jamal Mayers went to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Brassard’s slap shot from the point beat Crawford. But referee Dan O’Rourke almost immediately waved off the goal. Replays showed Nick Foligno’s right skate was in the crease, although there was no apparent contact between him and Crawford.

Between periods, Foligno said O’Rourke told him that the goal was disallowed because “I had bumped him and didn’t give him time to reset.”

The crowd booed lustily at every opportunity the rest of the night.

The Blue Jackets, who were shut out in their previous game 4-0 at Colorado on Thursday night, scored first while dominating the first 15 minutes.

While swarming the net, Foligno’s shot was stopped by Crawford but the rebound caromed out to Letestu, who had been stymied by Crawford earlier in the sequence. This time Letestu slid the puck between the skates of Bolland and then through Crawford for his first goal of the season.

Outshot 6-0 and 9-2 early, the Blackhawks countered.

Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin got caught pinching in on offense and the puck ended up on the stick of Kane in the neutral zone with no Blue Jackets in front of him. The Blue Jackets’ Ryan Johansen lost his stick trying to stop Kane’s momentum, with Kane crashing into Mason who made the save. But while Mason was sprawled in the crease Bolland pounced on the puck and lifted it high over Mason and into the net for his third this season.

NOTES: Chicago went 6-0-0 against the Blue Jackets last season and is 20-12-4 all-time at Nationwide Arena. … The Blackhawks improved to 4-0-0 on the road this season. … The Blue Jackets were without RW Cam Atkinson, who suffered a lower-body injury in camp. He may be out at least a week. … Hossa has 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 29 career games against Columbus while Kane has 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) and Toews 33 (14 goals, 20 assists) in 31 games against the Blue Jackets.

 

(© 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.)

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