The Chicago Blackhawks managed 41 shots on goal and had five chances to score a game-winning goal in the shootout, but they were stymied time and again by Sergei Bobrovsky as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
Patrick Sharp and Ben Smith scored goals in the game for Chicago, and Corey Crawford made 17 saves as the Hawks dropped the tight contest. Jack Skille and Kevin Connauton were the goal scorers for Columbus, and Jack Johnson scored the shootout winner as Columbus ended a 13-game losing streak against the Blackhawks.
The game started out with the Hawks on an early power play, but they couldn’t get any good scoring chances on the man-advantage. When the game returned to even strength they did start to move the puck better, and Brandon Saad fired a high shot on Bobrovsky that he was able to glove down. Marian Hossa then hit Bobrovsky’s glove as he skated through the crease, and even though the puck popped out and the veteran winger fired it home, the goal was immediately waved off.
After more quality scoring chances by the Hawks, their penalty kill chipped in as they kept Columbus off the board. Thanks to aggressive forechecking by the team’s forwards, Columbus wasn’t able to get a shot on goal during the two-minute power play, and the game remained scoreless.
With about three minutes to go in the first period, it was Columbus that broke the deadlock. Fedor Tyutin fired a shot in towards the net, and it took a deflection off of Ryan Johansen’s stick. Skille then deflected the puck as it slid along the side of the goal crease, and the Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks’ offensive chances continued to pile up early in the second period, and they got a 4-on-1 chance about three and a half minutes in. Unfortunately they weren’t able to convert, as Brent Seabrook’s pass to Hossa skipped a bit and the winger’s stick ended up breaking on the one-timer attempt.
About seven minutes into the period, the Hawks’ consistent offensive push finally paid off. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Michal Rozsival pushed the puck up to Sharp, who carried it across the blue line. On the ensuing 2-on-1 rush, Sharp rifled a wrist shot over Bobrovsky’s glove and into the top corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
The end of the second period saw more scoring chances for Chicago, but Columbus finally started to generate some of their own. Nick Foligno and Jeremy Morin each had quality chances that were stopped by Crawford, and a 2-on-1 chance from Johansen was broken up by Seabrook. A Saad shot near the end of the period nearly gave Chicago the lead, but it skipped just wide of the net as the contest remained tied through 40 minutes.
The Blue Jackets continued their momentum from the end of the second period on an early third period power play, and they were able to score the go-ahead goal with just one second left on the man-advantage. Matt Calvert provided a great screen in front of Crawford, and Connauton dropped down into the face-off dot and flocked a wrist shot past the goaltender to give Columbus a 2-1 lead.
The Blackhawks got several good opportunities over the next few minutes, with Saad getting robbed by Bobrovsky and Hossa sliding another shot just through the crease. With about 11 minutes left the pressure paid off again, as Marcus Kruger slid through the goal crease and kicked a loose puck toward the goal line. Smith ultimately got a stick on it just before it crossed the line, and after video review overturned the original no-goal call the Hawks tied the game at 2-2.
Chicago had two big opportunities as the third period wore on to take the lead, but both times the Blue Jackets’ penalty killing unit stood strong as they earned at least one point and forced overtime.
In the extra session, the Hawks dominated time of possession, but once again Bobrovsky didn’t allow them to score. Saad and Hossa each had good opportunities from in near the blue paint, and Michal Rozsival ripped a shot from the blue line, but nothing would go as the Blue Jackets forced a shootout.
The first four rounds of the shootout yielded no goals as both goaltenders stood tall, but Morin scored to open the fifth round to give Columbus a chance to win. Andrew Shaw came out for the Hawks to take the attempt, and his shot went over Bobrovsky’s glove and into the net to extend the game.
After Saad found the far post with his eighth round attempt, Columbus was finally able to take down the victory. Johnson made a tremendous deke to fool Crawford and slid the puck into the open net, and Bobrovsky stopped Bryan Bickell to end the ninth round and give the Blue Jackets the win.
The Hawks will look to bounce back on Sunday night as they welcome the Toronto Maple Leafs to the United Center for an Original Six showdown.