Blackhawks extend points streak to 21 with overtime win
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com March 1, 2013 10:15PM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs Columbus Blue Jackets 2nd-Period Chicago Blackhawk No.88 Patrick Kane celebrates with No.10 Patrick Sharp after his goal to tie the hockey game 2-2. Friday March 1St, 2013 I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:19AM
Brent Seabrook didn’t even bother to call for the pass. Why would he?
It was overtime, and Jonathan Toews had the puck — and the game — on his stick, streaking down the ice the way the Blackhawks have been streaking through the Western Conference. Seabrook had seen this one before.
‘‘He’s pretty good in those situations,’’ Seabrook said. ‘‘So I just let him do his thing.’’
But this is the era of good feelings for the Hawks, a seemingly magical time in which everybody contributes. So, of course, Toews ripped a cross-ice, tape-to-tape pass to Seabrook, who hammered the puck home for a 4-3 overtime victory Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The victory extended the Hawks’ NHL-record season-opening points streak to 21 games (18-0-3) on a night they drew their 200th consecutive sellout crowd.
‘‘To be honest, I didn’t really
expect [Toews] to make that pass,’’ Seabrook said. ‘‘He didn’t look at me once. And I didn’t yell. . . . I don’t think I shot the puck. It was such a hard pass, it just hit my stick and bounced in.’’
For the third time this season, the Blue Jackets — who have only five victories and began the game with only five healthy defensemen — gave the Hawks all they could handle in another one-goal victory. Once again, the Hawks wound up talking about finding a way to win, about pulling one out on a night when they weren’t at their best.
‘‘You get that little swagger and confidence when you’re on a streak like this,’’ said winger Viktor Stalberg, who scored his 11th goal in 15 career games against the Blue Jackets (he had eight goals against them last season). ‘‘You have the feeling that you’re going to find a way to get it done.”
The Hawks struggled to get much going offensively against a short-handed Blue Jackets team that lost defenseman John Moore, a Winnetka native, to an injury during the morning skate and had to wait until late in the first period for call-up Dalton Prout to arrive. Fourteen minutes into the game, the Hawks had only one shot on goal and trailed 1-0 on Vinny Pros-
pal’s goal 31 seconds into the game.
But Stalberg scored as a Blue Jackets penalty expired, and the Hawks went into the locker room tied 1-1.
‘‘That first period was pretty ugly, and we found a way to come out 1-1,’’ Stalberg said. ‘‘That’s the sign of a good team and a confident team.’’
A goal by Artem Anisimov gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead in the second period before the Hawks woke up with two goals in 59 seconds — a seemingly harmless, sharp-angled backhander by Patrick Sharp and a beauty of a wrist shot by Bryan Bickell.
And even when Ryan Johansen took advantage of an odd bounce off the boards and a nifty pass from Nick Foligno to beat Ray Emery (19 saves) to tie the score 3-3 with 7:37 left in regulation — and even as the Hawks hit three posts in the third period — the Hawks’ confidence never wavered.
That led to a suddenly action-packed overtime, where the result was awfully familiar — another dog pile against the glass, another stick-raising salute, another happy dressing room.
‘‘We’re finding ways to sustain games when it’s on the line throughout,’’ coach Joel Quenne-
ville said. ‘‘The perseverance of the guys should be commended.’’