Blackhawks steamroll Blue Jackets 6-1

The last time that the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets played each other, the two were Central division rivals. But with realignment, Columbus moved to the Eastern Conference, and the two teams faced each other for the first time this season on Thursday night at the United Center.

There's no reason to think that the Blue Jackets can't make the playoffs. They have been bouncing in and out of wild card contention all season. Since New Year's, Columbus has gone 15-6-1, including an 8-game win streak (January 6-23).

But on Thursday night in Chicago, the Blackhawks beat them solidly, 6-1. The home team dominated in just about every stat that mattered: outshooting Columbus 33-23 (+19-14 shot attempts), 69% at the dot, and of course, the score. Chicago controlled the play, and that was reflected in the Blue Jackets' hit count - 36.

Brandon Bollig opened the scoring just over 4 minutes into the game, redirecting a Marcus Krüger shot. The Blue Jackets would even the score less than four minutes later when Ryan Johansen scored.

Andrew Shaw pulled the Blackhawks ahead 2-1 with less than four minutes left in the period, and Chicago never looked back.

Eight minutes into the second, Brandon Saad gave a beautiful feed to Jonathan Toews, who had an easy tap-in goal to make it 3-1. Bryan Bickell scored his tenth of the season not too long after to make it 4-1, and Columbus pulled Sergei Bobrovsky out of the net at the point, and replaced him with Curtis McElhinney.

The change of goalies didn't stop the bleeding, at least not right away - Andrew Shaw would get his second of the night to close out the period. Then to start off the third, it would take just 22 seconds into a Nathan Horton penalty for Toews to also score his second of the night to make it 6-1.

Although the Blue Jackets then managed to keep the Blackhawks off the score sheet after that, the damage was done, and Columbus would be unable to score any more goals.

It was a solid all-around effort by the Blackhawks, and they were rewarded with the same dominating win that they had over the Penguins last Saturday.

Three stars:
1) Andrew Shaw
2) Jonathn Toews
3) Brent Seabrook

The Blackhawks will travel to New York to face off against the Sabres on Sunday night.


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