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Preseason Game #2: Blue Jackets Dump Blackhawks, 4-1

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Columbus scores four unanswered to topple Chicago

NHL: Preseason-Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Free from the lofty expectations of an undefeated preseason following Monday’s loss, the Columbus Blue Jackets knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Nationwide Arena, 4-1.

Columbus bounced back from a Blackhawks score in the first minute with four unanswered goals from Alexander Wennberg, Zac Dalpe, Cam Atkinson and Liam Foudy in the preseason opener for visiting Chicago. A mix of CBJ veterans and fresh faces carried the play for long stretches at a time in a solid overall performance.

Training camp resumes with practices on Wednesday and Thursday before a Friday night road game at St. Louis.

First Period

The Blackhawks buzzed Jean-Francois Berube right off the opening draw and struck soon after when prospect Alexandre Fortin put one past the veteran for a 1-0 lead just 53 into the game. Fortin found space on the dot to Berube’s left and fired it stick-side for the quick strike.

Lukas Sedlak gave the visitors their first power play 4:36 into the game, chopping down a Chicago forward for a tripping penalty. The Jackets looked decent on the early kill to survive the penalty without incident.

The Jackets pulled even at 12:13 on slapshot from Ryan Murray at the point, tipped home from Zac Dalpe in front of the net. The goal came in part due to some strong forechecking that forced a Chicago icing violation. Good things also happen when you go to the net, and Dalpe’s positioning paid off on a good play from Murray.

The first power play unit dominated on its first try, generating a Cam Atkinson great chance before Alexander Wennberg drew blood. Wennberg beat Cam Ward thanks to a complete screen from Boone Jenner, giving the Jackets a 2-1 edge with 1:57 left in the first period.

Second Period

Chicago came out strong to start the second, but the ice tilted the other way once the game passed the halfway point.

Murray looked destined to score his second point several minutes into the period. A broken Chicago stick led to an odd-man rush for the Jackets and Murray jumped up for a point-blank chance, only to see Ward make a great stop.

Dillon Simpson nearly made it 3-1 as the Jackets caught Chicago on a bad change, but his wrister from in close found the post instead. The Jackets drew a penalty shortly after and headed to the power play with 4:40 left in the period. The PP looked strong while piling up shots and staying firmly in the Chicago zone. New Blackhawks goaltender Collin Delia stood strong, however, and the game stayed at 2-1 heading into the final intermission.

Third Period

Cam Atkinson wasted little time in extending the CBJ lead, striking at 18:03. Nick Foligno lost the puck while dragging two Hawks across the offensive zone for Atkinson, who scooped up the loose puck and converted from the high slot.

The Blue Jackets cashed in soon after a power play expired in the game’s closing minutes. Anderson set up behind the net and found Foudy in front for a 4-1 lead. It was cool moment for Foudy, who made his NHL preseason debut on Tuesday night. Traverse City star Kevin Stenlund picked up an assist as well on the play.

Quick Thoughts

  • The Hawks are nobody’s pick to win the Stanley Cup and they iced a mixed-bag lineup for the game. Still, Columbus managed an eye-popping 65 percent, looked great on the power play and outshot Chicago 31-22.
  • Riley Nash was noticeable. What a difference a strong third-line center makes. If Brandon Dubinsky (who didn’t play on Tuesday) gets it going, this club might be OK at center.
  • Dillon Simpson can throw his weight around.
  • That Anderson-Foudy-Jenner line was fun to watch. Wennberg had two points but Anderson may have had the best game offensively. He also delivered a couple of big hits.
  • Ryan Murray played well overall but was not on the bench in the third. Perhaps something to monitor. Turns out he got kicked in the junk and will be fine.
  • Michael Prapavessis looked solid with Seth Jones and created a turnover that led to a CBJ chance in the second.
  • Kole Sherwood laid out to block a shot in the second as well. Can’t say he wasn’t trying out there.

What’d you think? Who stuck out for you in Tuesday’s win?