NHL Game Summary - Chicago at Columbus
(Saturday, January 14th)
Final Score: Columbus 4, Chicago 3
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Rick Nash scored two power play goals in the second period to lift the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Nationwide Arena.
Nash, who was named to his first All-Star team on Thursday, has five goals in his last five games and now has 30 on the season. Manny Malhotra and Tyler Wright each posted a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who have just two losses in their last nine games (4-2-3). Marc Denis made 20 saves for Columbus.
"We played really well for two periods then sort of thought the game was over in the third period and laid back a little bit and they almost caught us," Columbus head coach Gerard Gallant said. "I thought we played real well and real hard."
Steve Sullivan scored two goals for the Blackhawks and Tuomo Ruutu added a tally. Craig Anderson made 30 saves, but it couldn't stop Chicago from losing its 17th straight road contest.
After a scoreless first period, the goals came fast and furious in the second. Sullivan got Chicago on the board first with his ninth goal of the year, 3:55 into the stanza. With the Blue Jackets on the power play, Brett McLean intercepted a pass and hit Sullivan streaking down the middle into the offensive zone. Sullivan used a backhand to beat Denis and make it a 1-0 game.
But Columbus responded on that same power play. A little over a minute later, Nash was credited with the goal when he carried the puck into the offensive zone and dished the puck to Rostislav Klesla near the left faceoff circle. Klesla put a shot on net that bounced off of some bodies in front, and eventually off of Nash and past Anderson.
The Blue Jackets made it a 2-1 game five minutes later on an even-strength goal by Malhotra. After a scrum in the high slot, Wright wound up with the puck and fired on net. Malhotra found himself uncovered on the doorstep, and punched the rebound past Anderson for the tally. Malhotra's eighth of the year tied a career-high.
Nash's second goal of the game gave the Blue Jackets a daunting 3-1 lead just 1:21 later. On the power play, David Vyborny dumped the puck from the right faceoff circle down to Nikolai Zherdev behind the net. Two defensemen pinched on Zherdev, leaving Nash alone in front. The NHL's leading goal-scorer calmly took the pass and deposited the puck into the net.
Wright made it a 4-1 game with 15:51 remaining in regulation on his fourth goal of the year. Darryl Sydor ripped a shot that Anderson stopped, but the puck trickled loose between his pads. Wright whacked the puck through the five-hole, then helped it across the goal line behind Anderson for the score.
"We tried to make it 5-1, 6-1, and we got caught a couple times and gave up some scoring chances on our power play," Gallant said. "They got a little bit of light there at the end. It was frustrating."
Chicago pulled within two midway through the third, when Bryan Berard hammered a heavy slap shot from the right point and Denis made a right pad save. Ruutu was sitting by himself at the post an easily put the rebound past Denis to make it 4-2.
Sullivan made it a one-goal game with just 41 seconds left, when Tyler Arnason wristed a shot from the right point that Sullivan deflected into the net as he was passing through the high slot, but Chicago didn't get a viable scoring chance the rest of the way.
Chicago hasn't won on the road since November 7, and is 3-19-3-1 on foreign ice this season...Nash, 19, will be the first teenager to play in the All-Star Game since Jaromir Jagr and Owen Nolan in 1992...Columbus is 5-4-3-0 under Gallant...The Blue Jackets have won three of four meetings between these teams this season...Columbus is 3-0-1 in its last four home games...Nash leads the NHL with 14 power play goals...Nash is the second player in Blue Jackets history to record a 30-goal season. Geoff Sanderson did it twice...This was the fifth two-goal game of Nash's career...Columbus' 13 power play opportunities tied a franchise record set earlier this year against Calgary.
01/24 23:11:13 ET