Going into tonight's game, the Jackets hadn't beaten Chicago since 2010, when the teams were members of the Central Division. This game started ominously, when just thirty seconds in Ryan Johansen was sent to the box for tripping. The 'Hawks are mid-pack in terms of powerplay percentage, but with their offensive weapons giving them any man advantages is dangerous. The Jackets killed the penalty, a sign of things to come throughout the game.
Recent callup Alexander Wennberg had the Jackets' first good chance, followed by another scoring opportunity by former Blackhawk Jeremy Morin. The chances were few and far between for the home team, finishing the period with only three shots, to Chicago's fifteen.
Chicago thought they had taken the lead after Johansen misplayed the puck in the defensive zone, leading to a Brandon Saad shot on Columbus starter Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob made the glove save, but as he did so Marian Hossa skated through the blue paint, and with his elbow dislodged the puck, depositing it in the net. The goal was initially waved off, and after a review it was deemed to be a no goal due to the contact with the goalie.
The Jackets had a powerplay chance midway through the period with Kris Versteeg in the box, but were unable to convert against the number one-ranked Chicago penalty kill.
For most of the period the 'Hawks absolutely stifled the Jackets in the neutral zone, which is standard procedure for Chicago-they are so tight defensively in the middle of the ice, leading to few shots against.
With 2:36 left in the period, the Jackets caught a break. Jack Skille and former Jacket Tim Erixon got mixed up and crashed into the end boards chasing a loose puck. Skille was able to flick the puck behind the net to Corey Tropp, who then passed it to Fedor Tyutin at the left point. Tyutin fired the puck on-net, where Skille was waiting for the tip-in. Johansen tipped it en route, before Skille's redired beat Corey Crawford.
1-0 Jackets: Jack Skille - Ryan Johansen, Fedor Tyutin
The Jackets started the second period with more jump in their step, but Saad almost tied the game in the first minute on a partial breakaway. Bob slammed the door shut, one of his 39 saves on the night. Bob was simply masterful this evening.
The most improved part of the Jackets' game this month has been their penalty kill. They were terrific in killing a Jack Johnson hooking call. Cam Atkinson deserves special recognition- he's developing into a top-notch killer with his speed and forechecking.
At one point the Jackets were being outshot 20-4, and the 'Hawks finally broke through. At 7:27, Patrick Sharp carried the puck from his zone up the right wing, firing a snipe past Bob to tie the game.
1-1: Patrick Sharp - Michal Roszival
Bob continued to frustrate the 'Hawks throughout the period, and Brandon Dubinsky got into the frustration game as well, giving Jonathan Toews the business off a faceoff late in the period. Things got to the point where the two dropped the gloves, but before any meaningful blows were thrown, the linesmen stepped in. I'm really unsure as to why they broke it up so quickly, as both skaters were willing combatants and neither had lost their helmet. I think it would have been great to see the two stars go at it, a rare site these days. Rather than receiving fighting majors, the two players were assessed offset double minors.
Wennberg had a great chance to give his team the lead late, but was stopped by Crawford. This was easily Wennberg's best game as an NHLer, you can easily see his renewed confidence after a stint in the minors. You just know his game will take off after he scores his first professional goal.
With four seconds left in the period, Jack Johnson (who's been very good of late) made a great play at the Chicago blueline, drawing a high-sticking penalty. A late flurry in front of Crawford didn't bear fruit.
Starting the final frame on the powerplay, the Jackets looked to finally beat the elite Chicago kill, and were successful. Kevin Connauton, who may just be the savviest pickup by GM Jarmo Kekalainen this year, took a pass from David Savard, and with Matt Calvert setting the screen, Connauton wired the puck past Crawford.
2-1 Jackets: Kevin Connauton - David Savard, Matt Calvert
The lead didn't last, when at the 8:49 mark the 'Hawks again tied it up, amid controversy. Marcus Kruger slid into Bob with two feet, and the puck slid behind the goalie. Connauton and Ben Smith both hacked at the puck, and it slid into the net. The initial call was no-goal, but after a review it was determined that it went off Smith's stick, after Kruger slid into the goalie. As there was no goalie interference call made, the only reviewable play was the contact with the puck afterward.
2-2: Ben Smith - Marcus Kruger, Patrick Kane
In the latter half of the period, the Jackets killed off two Chicago powerplays. Led by Bobrovsky, the Jackets survived the onslaught, being outshot 38-17 at the end of regulation.
Both teams had chances to win it in the extra frame, but the goalies came up big. Bobrovsky, as mentioned, finished with 39 saves as the teams went to the shootout to decide the game.
|1||Cam Atkinson||No Goal||Jonathan Toews||No Goal|
|2||Ryan Johansen||No Goal||Patrick Kane||No Goal|
|3||Nick Foligno||No Goal||Patrick Sharp||No Goal|
|4||Matt Calvert||No Goal||Brad Richards||No Goal|
|5||Jeremy Morin||GOAL||Andrew Shaw||GOAL|
|6||Kevin Connauton||No Goal||Marian Hossa||No Goal|
|7||Brandon Dubinsky||No Goal||Kris Versteeg||No Goal|
|8||Alexander Wennberg||No Goal||Brandon Saad||No Goal|
|9||Jack Johnson||GOAL||Bryan Bickell||No Goal|
Though it would have made for a better narrative, Morin's goal didn't stand as the winner. That distinction went to Jack Johnson, who beat Crawford with a classic deke. Bob made eight saves to preserve the victory, some of which were worthy of the highlight reel.
FINAL SCORE: 3-2 Jackets (SO)
- Sergei Bobrovsky was amazing tonight. Plain and simple.
- Alex Wennberg had his best game as a Jacket
- The kill continues to impress. They were 4-for-4 tonight.
- Kevin Connauton has been nothing short of a steal for the CBJ. His PP goal against the NHL best PK was just the latest in his run of clutch goals.
- Adam Cracknell played well in his return to the lineup. He finished with eight hits and brought energy in only six minutes of icetime.
- The 'Hawks second goal really should have been waived off when Kruger slid into Bob.