COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ben Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night.
With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm but it popped out of his reach. While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith got a stick on it and pushed it into the net.
Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, and Keith had three assists. Antti Raanta had 24 saves.
Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Johansen and Artem Anisimov scored for Columbus, in the middle of a fight for the playoffs and in dire need of points. Bobrovsky had 34 saves.
The reigning Stanley Cup champions had already locked up their sixth straight playoff appearance while the Blue Jackets had a lot riding on the outcome. Columbus, with 85 points to start the night, held a tenuous grasp of the second wild-card spot in the East, a point behind Detroit which held the first wild card.
Columbus fell to 0-10-3 in its last 13 meetings with the Blackhawks.
Even though it was the second game of a back-to-back for both teams, it was a spirited game. Columbus won for the first time ever in Philadelphia, 2-0, on Bobrovsky’s 37-save shutout Thursday night and Chicago ended a three-game losing skid with a 3-2 shootout win at home over Minnesota.
Midway through the third with the game tied at 3, Raanta made the stop of the game after Matt Calvert intercepted a pass and zoomed in all alone. Raanta deflected his shot and the game remained tied.
Bobrovsky then stopped a blast by Bryan Bickell and smothered Morin’s shot from his knees in the slot with less than 5 minutes remaining.
Then came the wild finish after both teams had seemed content to get to overtime with a point.
But Smith, at the edge of the goal cage, was able to get his stick on the puck after Columbus’ Dalton Prout and Matt Calvert were unable to clear it and Bobrovsky couldn’t fall on it.
The teams were tied after a period and also after two.
Just 36 seconds into the second period, Brandon Dubinsky circled back from the corner and fed a trailing Johansen for his 31st — a wrist shot from near the short boards.
After Columbus’ leading scorer found the net, it was time for Chicago’s to follow suit.
With Andrew Shaw in front of Bobrovsky and preventing him from seeing the shot, Sharp loaded up on a shot on the power play to tie it at the 4:14 mark. It was Sharp’s 32nd.
Hossa then made it 3-2 midway through the period when he pounced on a nifty pass by Kris Versteeg, beating Cam Atkinson to it, and scored behind the Blue Jackets defense for his 28th.
Columbus then knotted things at 12:47 when Anisimov, from low on the right side, slid a centering pass that appeared to deflect off the stick of Niklas Hjalmarsson and then off the right leg pad of Raanta.
The Blue Jackets got on the board just 1:32 in. R.J. Umberger took a pass from Jared Boll and put up a low shot from the top of the left circle. Raanta blocked it but the long rebound slid to the high slot where MacKenzie beat Keith to it and jammed it in for his ninth.
The Blackhawks pulled even late in the period. Morin took a pass from Michal Roszival, seeing his first action after missing nine games with a lower-body injury, and made a quick move in the offensive zone before his hard slap shot from the top of the right circle eluded Bobrovsky on the stick side. It was the second goal for Chicago this season for Morin, who is on his fourth call-up because of the Blackhawks’ injuries at forward.
NOTES: Blue Jackets D David Savard played in his 100th NHL game. … Chicago returns home for games with St. Louis and Montreal before closing out the regular season at Washington and Nashville. … Columbus opened a three-game homestand, then ends the regular season with three on the road.. … There was a huge turnout of red-sweatered Chicago fans in the crowd of 18,695.
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