Blue Jackets defeat Blackhawks behind Laine’s hat trick

  

Following a bounce back win in Winnipeg, the Chicago Blackhawks returned to the United Center on Thursday night for the first of six straight home games, beginning with a rematch from last month against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The matchup marked the first time Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones faced his former team after missing their first contest on Jan. 11, a 4–2 Hawks win at Nationwide Arena. Jones was a late scratch for that game after entering COVID-19 protocol just hours before the puck dropped. The Hawks started rookie Arvid Soderblom in net while the Jackets went with Elvis Merzlikins.

First period

The Jackets struck first on the power play when Jakub Voracek one-timed a shot from the left face-off circle, which Soderblom stopped but left a juicy rebound. Columbus captain Boone Jenner tapped in the loose puck for his 20th of the season at 6:58.

Thirteen seconds later, the Jackets capitalized on an Erik Gustafsson turnover to take a 2–0 lead. Gustav Nyquist intercepted the puck and found rookie Yegor Chinakhov streaking down the right side, and he fired a wrist shot past Soderblom for his sixth of the season.

The Blackhawks cut the lead to 2–1 when Philipp Kurashev tallied his fourth of the season on the power play. On the right half boards, Kirby Dach fed Dominik Kubalik on the opposite side, who fired a shot-pass for Kurashev to redirect on the back door at the 10:24 mark.

The Hawks tied it at two at 14:21 when Brett Connolly found Ryan Carpenter, who skated in alone through the middle of the ice and beat Merzlikins for his first of the season.

The offensive fireworks did not end there. At 16:55, Max Domi broke the tie with his ninth of the season when he skated in alone through the left face-off circle and snapped one over the right shoulder of Soderblom. The Jackets finished a wild first with a 3–2 lead and led the Hawks in shots on goal 16–11.

Second period

It only took nine seconds for Columbus to regain a two-goal lead. Patrik Laine picked off a Calvin de Haan pass on the half wall and sniped a wrist shot that was initially waved off, however, the replay in Toronto confirmed the puck completely crossed the goal line, so Laine was awarded his 14th of the season. For the Blue Jackets, the goal was the fastest to start a period in team history, breaking the previous mark of 10 seconds set by Cam Atkinson.

With just under two minutes left, the Blackhawks, who were sluggish on both ends of the ice in the middle frame, cut the deficit to 4–3 on MacKenzie Entwistle’s fifth of the season. De Haan slapped a one-timer that bounced around toward the net and Entwistle tapped it in on the doorstep.

Despite the struggles, the Hawks outshot the Jackets 10–8 in the middle frame but trailed 24–21 after 40 minutes.

Third period

At 7:58 of the period, Josiah Slavin lost a face-off to Jenner and the red-hot Laine snapped one past Soderblom from the top of the right circle for his second of the game and 15th of the season to give Columbus a 5–3 advantage. For Laine, it was his fourth multi-goal game in his last seven contests.

The Hawks were not going down quietly, though, as exactly one minute later, Patrick Kane backhanded a pass from behind the net to Alex DeBrincat in the slot, who saw his initial shot get stopped but then poked in his own rebound for his 29th of the season. The Hawks trailed 5–4 with the tally.

At 11:57, Columbus regained a two-goal lead when a Connor Murphy turnover led to some extended zone time for the visitors, and, eventually, Oliver Bjorkstrand’s shot from the slot through traffic found the back of the net to give the Jackets a 6–4 advantage. For Bjorkstrand, it was his 15th of the season and third in his last four games.

The Hawks would pull their goaltender with three minutes to play and got a power play, but had nothing to show for it despite some good looks. Laine would complete the hat trick with an empty net marker with 4.7 seconds left for his 16th of the season to wrap up a 7–4 win for the visitors.

Columbus outshot Chicago 13–11 in the third and 37–32 for the game.

The good, the bad, the ugly

The good

Ryan Carpenter: The Hawks’ fourth-line center recently expressed his desire to contribute more offensively and he did just that with a two-point night, including his first goal of the season on a breakaway. Carpenter had a few other offensive chances in what was likely his best game of the season.

The bad

Kirby Dot…errr Dach: Pun intended, Dach was awful in the face-off circle yet again despite saying he believes he has been better and we should not look at the numbers. How do you not notice an 11% winning percentage in the dot, Kirby?

The ugly

The Blackhawks’ defense: Three turnovers by Hawks defenders directly led to three Columbus goals. On Domi’s breakaway goal, the Blackhawks were caught out of position following a Kubalik turnover in the neutral zone. On the Jackets’ sixth goal, a Murphy turnover kept the Hawks pinned in their own zone. It was a rough game defensively for the Hawks, especially with Soderblom playing just his third NHL game.

Analysis

The Hawks found themselves in an early hole and had to play catch-up most of the way. While they were able to tie it in the first, multiple defensive breakdowns by the Hawks led to Columbus goals and it was too much to overcome. This is not a game where you would point the finger at the rookie goaltender, but instead the team in front of him, which was flat out bad defensively. The Hawks continue this home stand on Friday night against the division rival Dallas Stars. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. CST on NBCSCH with the radio call on WGN 720.

Center Ice Forums Blue Jackets defeat Blackhawks behind Laine’s hat trick

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