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The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer ... : Blackhawks 5, Blue Jackets 2

... is for the Blackhawks to finally win a hockey game.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks finally won a game!

They snapped an eight-game losing streak, beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3 on Friday night at the United Center.

Patrick Kane opened the scoring 13:29 into the first period — his first goal since Dec. 3. Jonathan Toews forced a turnover that went to Kane, who skated inside the circle and ripped the puck by Daniil Tarasov.

The Blackhawks went up 2-0 a few minutes later when Max Domi one-timed a pass from Kane into the net. The goal was made possible by Tyler Johnson breaking up the Blue Jackets’ zone exit attempt at the blue line.

Andreas Athanasiou extended the Blackhawks lead to 3-0 just 2:31 into the second period while on a 2-on-1 rush with Sam Lafferty. Credit to Lafferty for regaining possession of the puck after the Blue Jackets got it out of the zone and Mitchell for his snappy in-zone pass to Lafferty.

The Blackhawks made it 4-0 just a minute later as Taylor Raddysh buried a centering pass from Toews. Alex Stalock won’t get an assist on the goal, but it was partially set up by his beautiful outlet pass to Philipp Kurashev, who dropped the puck to Toews after entering the zone.

Things got a little heated midway through the second as Sean Kuraly laid a big, clean hit on Toews, and everyone on the ice wanted in on the ensuing action:

Alex Stalock was especially angry on behalf of his captain — who looked ready to drop the gloves on Mathieu Olivier but instead took his protective aggression out on a Blue Jackets stick:

The Blue Jackets got one back with 6:12 left in the middle frame. While on the power play, Kirill Marchenko’s wrist shot from the left circle made it through traffic to make it 4-1.

Just 3:21 into the third period, Marcus Bjork cut the Blackhawks lead to 4-2 with a long shot that hit the crossbar and went in.

Toews gave the Blackhawks some breathing room by scoring with 7:44 left in the game. Max Domi sent a bullet of a pass from the boards across the ice to Kane, who touch-passed it to Toews for a tap-in goal.

Despite the game getting pretty chippy in the waning minutes, the Blackhawks held on to defeat the Blues Jackets 5-2.

Notes

  • Well, as stated in the preview, if there was ever a team the Blackhawks could end their losing streak on, it was the Blue Jackets. By the time the Blackhawks had four goals, the Blue Jackets had just five shots on goal. Yeah, the Blue Jackets made it interesting with a couple of late goals, but the Blackhawks were the better team at 5-on-5 for a majority of the game.
  • This was only the sixth time the Blackhawks have scored first and they managed to get a point in every game that happened, including tonight. So, moral of the story: the Blackhawks need to score first more often.
  • The biggest issue for the Blackhawks tonight was that they took too many dumb penalties — not a great plan when the penalty kill has been objectively terrible lately. Boris Katchouk, especially, can be fired into the sun for boarding Bjork when the puck was already away from the opponent and while the Blackhawks were down a man. He’s lucky the Blackhawks didn’t get a penalty for going at it with Kuraly.
  • Kane has been playing very well as of late — especially during the last game against the Nashville Predators — but with little to show for it, so it was only a matter of time before he scored. Granted, it was against one of the worst teams in the league, but hopefully this will be the uncorking of many more goals to come.
  • Toews had one of the lowest shot shares on the team at 5-on-5 — the Blackhawks were outshot 17-9 when he was on the ice — but his individual offensive performance was strong. It was his first multi-point game of the season.
  • Speaking of Daydream Nation: Kane and Toews combined for their 300th goal together.
  • Isaak Phillips played only 13:49 — due to so much time spent on special teams — but he led defensemen in shot attempt share (72.41 percent) and expected goals share (78.93) at 5-on-5. He and Connor Murphy were the only defensemen on the ice for more than one goal.
  • Stalock had an impressive night, stopping 27 of 29 shots. The team in front of him was much better at suppressing high-danger chances again — at least at 5-on-5 where there were only five HDCF against — but Stalock played big when needed, even if it’s still an adventure with him in net.
  • Congrats to Seth Jones for playing in his 100th game as a Blackhawk tonight.
  • The Blackhawks finishing last in the standings is the best thing for the organization long-term, obviously, but the team also needs to win occasionally — if only so the players and fans don’t go crazy. So enjoy it while you can!
  • On behalf of everyone at SCH, I hope everyone has a happy holidays!

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Alex Stalock (CHI) — .931 save-percentage, breaker of sticks, defender of captains
  2. Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  3. Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goals, 2 assist

What’s next

The Blackhawks will be on holiday break until next Tuesday when they travel to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes at 6 p.m.