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Posts Tagged ‘Antti Niemi.’

Blue Jackets start fast en route to demolishing Chicago, 8-3

Columbus, Ohio–The Columbus Blue Jackets have rarely had a so-called easy game this season. But Thursday night’s Central Division clash against the Chicago Blackhawks would definitely qualify as one.

Columbus scored in every period, 2 in the first, 4 in the second and 2 in the third to completely baffle the number 1 team in the Western Conference. It’s baffling because the Jackets came into the game 0-2-2 against Chicago this season.

The Jackets came out of the locker room with much aggressiveness as they scored in the first :32 seconds of the game as Mike Commodore, not known as scorer, shot the puck off a tough angle and past Chicago’s shaky goaltender Cristobal Huet, for a quick 1-0 lead.

Chicago, a little perturbed about being behind to a team that they should handle easily, tried to get a fight started as RW Adam Burish got tangled up in the corner with Derek Dorsett of the Blue Jackets. The officials gave Dorsett a roughing penalty on the play. Then defenseman Brent Seabrook got tangled up with Dorsett later in the period, but nothing came of it.

Samuel Pahlsson had 2 assists (CBJ)

Columbus went up 2-0 as Rick Nash had an open shot, but got the puck to Kristian Huselius who also was open, and he put it past Huet to make it 2-0 at the 12:08 mark of the first period. It was Huselius’ 3rd goal against Chicago and 22nd of the season.

The Blackhawks did come alive towards the end of the first period but it was clear, that they did not come out of the locker room ready to match the Blue Jackets intensity.

In the second period, Chicago started to show why they’re the number 1 team in the Western Conference with 99 points. They came out of the locker room with an urgency and it paid off as RW Kris Versteeg scored off a rush at the 2:15 mark to cut the lead down to 2-1 Columbus.

Everybody in Nationwide Arena started buzzing after that goal, because they’ve seen it happen over and over all season, that the Jackets will dominate the first period and come out flat in the second and fall behind in the game. They’ve seen it happen against the Blackhawks before, but on this night the Blue jackets were not going to be denied or stopped in beating the Blackhawks.

Columbus continued to take advantage of gaps in the Chicago defense and scored another goal to answer Versteeg’s tally. Kristian Huselius, who has seen consistency and a rebirth in his game since Claude Noel took over for Ken Hitchcock as the coach, scored on a rebound shot at the 4:58 mark and it was 3-1. Huselius scored his 4th goal of the season versus Chicago and 23rd on the season.

Mike Commodore scored :32 into game (CBJ)

Then, all 14,573 in attendance saw something that they rarely see in a hockey game, a penalty shot. Jakub Voracek, one of the up-and -coming stars on the Blue Jackets team, was off-to-the-races with the puck, moving in 1-on-1 against the goalie when one of the Blackhawks defenseman took him off his skates. So that meant a penalty shot for Voracek going one-on-one against Cristobal Huet who was already having a bad night in goal.

Voracek drove towards the goal, and got Huet out of position and put the puck into the low right side of the net and shockingly it was 4-1 Columbus. The last time Columbus had a home penalty shot goal,  prior to last night was on March 19, 2001 vs. Nashville, when David Vyborny beat  Tomas Vokoun at 18:01 of the third period in a 2-1 loss.  The scoring wasn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.

Antione Vermette was about to get into scoring column. He took a Chicago mistake and went streaking in on goalie Cristobal Huet and he scored unassisted at the 14:17 mark and it was 5-1 and the rout was continuing. By now, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville had seen enough of  Huet and decided to give Antti Niemi a shot at cooling down the Jackets for the rest of the second period anyway.

It was to no avail as center Andrew Murray picked up a loose puck and shoveled it past Niemi making the score 6-1. The Blue Jackets amazingly had scored 4 goals against one of the NHL’s best teams and best defenses in  the second period to open up daylight at 6-1.

The Blackhawks came out in the third period and scored a couple of goals but the Blue Jackets did the same with Antione Vermette scoring his second of the night and 25th of the season and Mike Blunden his first of the campaign.

The Blue Jackets by far, had played their best game of the season and left fans and media wondering where were all of these goals, inspirational, physical and emotional play back in December and January when the team basically fell out of playoff contention.

Maybe it was a glimpse of what we’ll see in 2010-2011.

SOUNDS FROM THE POSTGAME LOCKER ROOM (to listen to an audio file, simply click on the number)

44 648 Adam Burish Chicago Rw Chicago was mistake prone all game long

44 651 Adam Burish On goalie Cristobal Huet taking the heat for another bad game

44 654 Antione Vermette Columbus Finally an easy game for a change

44 656 Antione Vermette Scoring in the first 32 seconds of the game got them rolling

44 657 Antione Vermette A career high 25th goal tonight feels good in a win

44 659 Antione Vermette Was he surprised that they embarrassed Cristobal Huet in goal

GAME NOTES

* The Blue Jackets are 19-11-7 at home.

* Columbus is 30-32-12 for 72 points on the season.

* Are 25-24-7 vs. Chicago.

* Are 15-10-4 vs. Chicago at Nationwide Arena.

* The CBJ are 20-12-5 when scoring the first goal of the sesason.

* Columbus is 13-7-5 when leading after the first period.

* 23-6-4 when leading after the second period.

* The eight goals scored by Columbus matches a club single game record overall and is most the club has scored at home.

The club record of eight goals was set March 7, 2009 at Detroit, a game Columbus won 8-2.

The previous high for goals scored at home was seven, set February 8, 2006 against Los Angeles in a 7-4 victory.

* The five-goal margin of victory matches a club record at home.

The record had been set four times previously (February 26, 2009 vs. Calgary, 5-0–most recent).

* The 11 combined goals between the clubs also matches a home franchise record.

The record had been set three times previously (December 28, 2006 vs. Detroit, a 7-4 loss–most recent).

* The Blackhawks currently sit atop the Central Division with 99 points, ten points clear of second-place Nashville with two games in hand.

* Chicago has not won a division title since finishing in first place in the Norris Division in 1992-93 season.

* The Blackhawks have occupied first place in the Central Division since November 9. The last time Chicago did not own at least a share of first place in the division was on November 8 when they were in second (8-5-2) behind first place Columbus (9-5-2). That was when the Blue Jackets were playing well.

* Chicago has won 11 of its last 14 games against Central Division opponents, and owns a 14-6-0 mark against division rivals overall. Washington (17-3-1) in the Southeast Division is the only NHL team with a better record within their division.

Chicago beats Columbus in shootout, 5-4

Rick Nash Columbus (AP)

By Stuart Mason

MSN beat reporter

Columbus- The Chicago Blackhawks, Central Division leaders and the NHL’s second best team, came from two goals down early to defeat Columbus in a shootout, 5-4. The Valentine’s Day crowd of 17,673 was entertained with 9 goals, a fast pace, hard-hitting and several fights.

Since Claude Noel took over as the interim coach, Columbus has shown the knack of being able to score first and yesterday was no different as they went up 2-0 in the opening period on goals by Kristian Huselius, his 20th of the season, 3rd vs. Chicago and the 19th of the season for Raffi Torres.  The Jackets were dominating and held all of the momentum until Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane scored on a power play with :06 left in the first period, his 25th goal of the season. That cut the lead to 2-1 and gave Chicago momentum for the second period.

The Blackhawks showed why they’re Stanley Cup contenders in the second period by scoring 3 goals to go up 4-2. The Hawks took advantage of Columbus’ soft play in the defensive zone which led to goals by two unknown players, left winger Bryan Bickell and center Jake Dowell. Patrick Sharp added the third tally. Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash scored his 28th goal at the 17:44 mark on a :12 power play to cut the deficit to 4-3.

The 3rd period was very fast-paced as the Blue Jackets came out very aggressive to tie up the game. They received a little help from Chicago’s Troy Brouwer. After Anton Stralman put a vicious hit on Chicago star player Patrick Kane, Brouwer took matters into his own hands. He instigated a fight with Stralman which lasted about :30 seconds.  Brouwer received 19 minutes in penalties: 10 minutes for instigator misconduct, 5 minutes fighting, 2 minutes for instigator (face shield) and 2 minutes instigator. The latter two penalties added up to a 4 minute power play for Columbus which allowed them to tie the game at 4 as Fedor Tyutin redirected the puck off of Chicago defenseman Kim Johnsson’s stick and went past goalie Antti Niemi who was stunned.

The overtime period went scoreless, but Columbus had to kill off a 48 second power play left over from the 3rd period when Raffi Torres was called for roughing.

Shootouts are where the Blue Jackets have historically struggled and yesterday was no exception. Troy Brouwer scored the game winner as the Blackhawks ended the week winning four straight games, 3 in shootouts.

Going into the Olympic break, Chicago is 40-15-5 for 85 points while Columbus is 25-28-10 for 60 points.  The Blue Jackets are 24-23-7 all-time vs. Chicago. Seven of the past ten games have been decided in overtime or a shootout.44 211 TROY BROUWER CHICAGO RW44 214 PATRICK KANE CHICAGO RW44 225 JOEL QUENNEVILLE CHICAGO COACH44 235 CLAUDE NOEL CBJ COACH