NHL Game Summary - Columbus at Chicago
(Wednesday, April 8th)
Final Score: Columbus 4, Chicago 3 (SO)
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Fedor Tyutin scored the lone goal in the shootout, as the Columbus Blue Jackets clinched the first playoff spot in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.
Rick Nash and Antoine Vermette both posted a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who joined the league as an expansion team in 2000-01. Steve Mason finished with 24 saves to earn his 33rd win of the season.
Columbus is sixth in the Western Conference with 92 points.
"(The people in Columbus) are such good fans. We're glad to finally give them playoff hockey," Nash said. "Now that we're in the playoffs, anything can happen."
Brent Seabrook, Dave Bolland and Martin Havlat each had a goal for Chicago, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Nikolai Khabibulin finished with 19 stops in the loss.
"We're very disappointed with the loss," Seabrook said. "This is the time of year when you have to win games like that. Khabibulin played a great game, but we have to give him some help."
The Blackhawks are fourth in the West with 100 points, the seventh time in history the club has reached the century mark and first since 1992-93.
Trailing 3-2 late in the third period and knowing that they needed just one point to punch their ticket, Nash, the team captain and face of the franchise, netted the equalizer with 5:30 remaining. Once the buzzer sounded to signal the end of regulation, Columbus had secured a spot in the playoffs.
After a scoreless first round in the shootout, Mason turned away Patrick Kane and Tyutin beat Khabibulin with a wrister on the stick side. Bolland was Chicago's last hope, but his bid went wide of the net.
Chicago grabbed a 1-0 lead on the power play with 6:12 remaining in the first period. Seabrook exited the penalty box, took an outlet pass from Brian Campbell, skated in on Mason uncontested and fired a wrister between the legs of the Columbus netminder.
The Blackhawks then capitalized on a late odd-man rush with 21 seconds left in the opening frame. Kris Versteeg dished to Bolland, charging down the right side. Bolland went around Mason and from behind the goal line banked the puck off the right glove of a sliding Nash, who was denied on a penalty shot earlier in the first.
Vermette put the Blue Jackets on the board 5:37 into the middle stanza when he buried the rebound of a Nash shot. With the assist, Nash established a franchise record for most points in a season, breaking Ray Whitney's total of 76 set in 2002-03.
Jason Williams tapped in a feed from Vermette through the pads of Khabibulin, tying the game at the eight-minute mark of the second period.
Chicago regained the lead on Havlat's one-timer with 2:17 remaining in the second.
The Blackhawks earned points five of the six matchups against Columbus this season (3-1-2)...Nash scored his 39th goal of the season...Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith collected two assists.
04/09 01:15:44 ET