Road trip begins with loss in Columbus
Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 2
It was one of those nights where the 'Hawks just really didn't have anything from the opening face-off, and the Columbus Blue Jackets took advantage by knocking off Chicago 4-2, a negative way for the Blackhawks to start this six game road trip.
The 1st period seemed pretty boring and uneventful until there were about 7 minutes remaining, when the Blackhawks got on the board to start things off well. After cycling the puck very impressively, a shot was blocked but came back to the point where Duncan Keith wound up and fired one by Pascal Leclaire, giving the 'Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Not even 2 minutes later, Columbus came right back to tie things up. On sort of a broken play, Brent Seabrook blocked a shot on the Blue Jackets' rush, but it went right to Rick Nash around the net who easily tapped it into the net to make it 1-1, which is how it stayed until the 2nd.
Just exactly one minute into the 2nd, Sergei Federov struck for the Blue Jackets, tipping a shot from the point past Lalime, giving the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead early in the period.
About midway through the 2nd, the Blue Jackets got another one past Patrick Lalime, this time courtesy of Dan Fritsche, as the Jackets once again took advantage of some shoddy work by the Blackhawks' defensemen in their own zone. This gave Columbus a 3-1 lead, and a chance for them to play the trap, shutting down anything the Hawks tried to do offensively.
Heading into the 3rd still down 3-1, the Hawks tried to do some things to get some scoring chances, but the Blue Jackets just sat back in the neutral zone and broke up anything that the Blackhawks tried to do to get back into the game.
Midway through the 3rd, Jason Chimera put the nail in the coffin, when he took the puck at the Hawks blue-line, skated in and let a long slap shot go that would beat Lalime to give Columbus a commanding 4-1 lead.
With about 2 and a half minutes left, Dustin Byfuglien got one back for the Blackhawks, off a booming shoot from the point that hit Leclaire's glove and went into the net, making it 4-2, which would be the final.
There was an interesting development after the final horn sounded. Jim Vandermeer and Rick Nash bumped each other around the benches, and Nash appeared to shove Vandermeer before the two came together and dropped the gloves. I'd give the decision to Vandermeer, who was able to get a good shot to Nash's nose, that seemed to stun him a little bit.
Besides the fighting majors, Vandermeer was given a 10 minute misconduct, while Nash received a 2 minute cross checking penalty, all at the 20 minute mark.
Overall, there was some bad blood brewing definitely tonight, as earlier in the game Jared Boll pretty much plowed Patrick Lalime over, leading to a fight between him and Dustin Byfuglien, in which Byfuglien pretty much just wrestled and took Boll down to the ice.
I don't know what the deal was tonight, but the 'Hawks just seemed to have zero energy for all 60 minutes, except for a few decent shifts in the 1st period. They had just 18 shots on goal for the entire game, and most didn't challenge Pascal Leclaire too much. The power play didn't look too good, and defensively the Hawks had too many costly giveaways. Just a poor effort all around, hopefully they can just put it behind them.
SCH Hawks Player Of The Game: Dustin Byfuglien, who had a goal and played strong on defense tonight.