The Jackets were outplayed for most of the game, but were tied early in the third, until Viktor Stalberg decided to take things into his own hands. Read on after the jump...
In a bit of a surprise move, the Jackets gave the starting nod to rookie goaltender Allen York. After the puck dropped, the 'Hawks carried the play for the first minute, until the Vermette line got in behind the defense, forcing Chicago starter Ray Emery to make the save.
At 17:09, the Jackets had a sloppy line change, allowing the 'Hawks fourth line to go to work. Jamal Mayers blasted a shot from the right point, with York making the save. Unfortunately, his rebound went right to the stick of Marcus Kruger, who slid it past York for his first NHL goal.
1-0 Blackhawks- Kruger (Mayers, Seabrook)
The Jackets looked deflated initially, but after a few minutes they started to have more consistent and hard-working shifts. Derek MacKenzie was working his tail off, and the momentum swung in the Jackets favor, leading to a pair of chances.
At about the six minute mark, the top line hopped over the boards. Nash tried to beat two defenders, but was tripped up. The puck slid to Wisniewski, who quickly slid it over to Fedor Tyutin. Tyuts fired a beauty pass across the slot to a wide-open Vinny Prospal, who one-timed the puck into the net to tie it up.
1-1- Prospal (Tyutin, Wisniewski)
With 11:54 left in the first, the Jackets went to the powerplay. Not only did they fail to put one past Emery, they failed to even register a shot.
At 8:25 Tyutin went to the box for tripping. I haven't been able to verify what, or who he tripped, however. It didn't matter, because Dave Bolland went to the box for tripping as well, making it four-on-four. The Hawks dominated play until the Jackets went on their abbreviated powerplay. Strong play by Ryan Johansen and Nash led to a few scoring chances, but the Jackets couldn't bury one.
The Jackets got another powerplay chance with slightly over three minutes to go in the first. The Jackets moved the puck very well, but again were prevented from scoring. With time left on the powerplay, the puck was turned over at the Chicago blueline, and rather than pick the puck and chip it past the Chicago player, Kris Russell stopped and started to back up. As he did this, Dave Bolland was sprung for a breakaway. York pokechecked, opening himself up. Bolland didn't miss, potting the shortie.
2-1 Blackhawks- Bolland (Frolik)
The Jackets finished the period looking like a team that has already lost the game. Throughout the period, the Jackets were failing to complete the little things. Passes were far from crisp. The blueliners really struggled to keep the puck in the offensive zone. The forwards were turning the puck over. Overall an ugly period for the Jackets.
End of the first, 2-1 'Hawks.
The Blackhawks dictated play for the first five minutes of the period. The Jackets still couldn't develop anything offensively, and the turnovers continued. You would have thought that Columbus was the team that played the night before, not the other way around.
You saw it a bit in the first period, but in the second you saw a lot of Derek MacKenzie playing center with Nash and Prospal. One thing that is a virtual constant is DMac's effort and compete level. He just doesn't quit.
With about 13:00 to go, after some sustained pressue by Chicago, Jonathan Toews attempted a wraparound, but York slid his left pad over to shut the door. It was York's first big save of the game, and making that first one gives a goaltender a confidence boost.
In a bit of a surprise call, Wisniewski went to the box for holding the stick. It must have been as he was being tossed to the ice. This Chicago powerplay was strange- the ''Hawks, and all of United Center, thought they had scored on a slapper that beat York, but not the post. Seconds later, York was beat, but the puck was struck with a high-stick, and after a review, both goals were waved off.
At 11:26 of the period, Aaron Johnons went to the box for hooking. Johnson had not played a good game to that point, with a couple of turnovers and some tentative play. RIck Nash went out to kill the second half of the penalty, and that move alone seem to disrupt the 'Hawks, and they failed to score.
After the teams went back to five-on-five, Derek MacKenzie showed tremendous effort in taking the puck up the right wing, cutting to the slot, and wiring a shot on net. Emery made the save, but the puck went to Rick Nash, who took a shot, with the rebound slipping to the left of Emery. He couldn't recover, and MacKenzie was right there to wire the puck in the net.
2-2- MacKenzie- (Nash, Johnson)
As the "one-minute remaining" announcement was being made, the Jackets had a great chance, with Derek Dorsett being stopped on the doorstep by Emery. The Jackets looked very comfortable after the Mac goal, and started to show serious pushback.
End of the second, tied at two.
Two-and-a-half into the period, Alexandre Giroux was sent off for hooking. The Jackets caught a huge break, when after Patrick Sharp scored off a cross-crease feed, the goal was waved off due to a high-stick on Wisniewski by Bryan Bickell. It didn't make much difference though, because with just seconds left four-on-four Viktor Stalberg stole the puck, skated up the wing, and wired a wrister past York as he cut to the slot.
3-2 'Hawks- Stalberg (Leddy, Keith)
The Jackets had a partial powerplay, but couldn't score. Minutes later Stalberg struck again. He was left all along in front of York-they don't come much easier.
4-2 'Hawks- Stalberg (Brunette, Leddy)
The play alternated back and forth for the next few minutes. The Jackets looked entirely deflated at that point, and they were seemingly dumping the puck at every opportunity, with the exception of one instance where Umberger took the puck in himself, but couldn't get a clean shot off.
Matt Calvert went off for boarding at 11:29 of the third. While on the powerplay, the 'Hawks scored again, but for the third time tonight, the goal was waved off. Dave Bolland clearly kicked the puck in the net.
With 5:12 left in the game, the Jackets went back the powerplay. The Jackets put one behind Emery, but it was waved off, as Derick Brassard kicked it in the net. Weird night.
The Jackets turned up the heat a bit, but were unable to solve Emery. With 1:41 left, Arniel took a timeout, and shortly after the whistle was blown the Jackets pulled York. With 2.4 seconds remaining, Michael Frolik scored into the empty net to make it 5-2.
5-2 'Hawks- Frolik (Unassisted)
Final Score: 5-2 Blackhawks
- Vinny Prospal: Continues to be the only Jacket forward doing anything consistently. Adds to his team leading goal and point totals.
- Viktor Stalberg: With a tie game in the third, he scored two quick ones to ice it.
- Allen York: It was like he was doomed from the start. He gets the nod here because quite frankly, I feel bad for the poor guy.
- Derek MacKenzie: The only Columbus forward who wasn't a minus- he finished with a +2 and scored a goal.
- NHL War Room: They were busy tonight, and got every call right.
Bottom of the Barrel:
- Columbus Powerplay: 0-5. Not good.
- Columbus defense: Bad turnovers, failed to keep a lot of pucks in the offensive zone, missed assignments...truly the achilles heel of the team so far this season.
Antoine Vermette: Still without a goal, had some ugly turnovers.
- Derick Brassard: Bumped to the fourth line, except on the PP.
- Ian Clark / Coaching Staff: If throwing a player to the wolves is the best way to develop a rookie goaltender, tonight should prove how bad that idea is.
We'll see you tomorrow night when the Jackets take on the Ducks.