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Blackhawks back to winning ways with 2-1 shootout win in Columbus

Updated: March 15, 2013 12:13AM



COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Blackhawks haven’t lost their touch.

Stymied by a hot goaltender and frustrated by missed opportunities and ill-timed penalties, the Hawks survived at the end of regulation, broke even in an entertaining overtime that looked like a video game, then did what they do best — found a way to win.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane solved the mystery of Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in the shootout and Corey Crawford was at his best when it counted most as the Blackhawks beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 on Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.

Defenseman Johnny Oduya scored off a perfect feed from Kane, with Niklas Halmarsson also assisting as the Hawks (22-2-3) broke a two-game losing streak after three days between games.

‘‘It was a good win. It was a hard game,’’ Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘We got better as the game went on. We had some good looks in the third [period]. It was an exciting overtime. I like how we got back on track here.’’

The Hawks know they’re not going to be able to keep up the pace they set during their 24-game point streak. But for the most part, the hallmark of that streak was a knack for winning more than dominating. So even though Thursday’s game was not a masterpiece, it still was evidence that after back-to-back losses, the Hawks are the same team.

‘‘It feels good to get back to winning,’’ Oduya said. ‘‘The start was a little slow. But we picked it up in the second and third, and I think we took over.’’

But other than Oduya’s goal, the Hawks met only frustration against Bobrovsky, who stopped 39 of 40 shots in regulation and overtime — including a couple that had to have had the Hawks wondering what it would take to score again.

With Bobrovsky out of position, Duncan Keith (second period) and Dave Bolland (overtime) both had clear shots to the left of the net from close in that looked like sure goals. But Bobrovsky denied both, stopping Keith with his blocker and Bolland with a sprawling stick save.

‘‘We didn’t get frustrated,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘I know he had a couple of saves — none bigger than the one on Bollie in overtime. He was quick on the loose stuff tonight. But that’s what we’re looking for is a second opportunity, and hopefully it will be nicer than the first.’’

That strategy didn’t pay off against the Blue Jackets (10-12-6), who are 5-0-4 in their last nine games. But the Hawks played better defense than they did in losses to the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, giving Crawford a chance to keep them in the game. That’s all they need most of the time.

It finally paid off in the shootout. After Artem Anisimov beat Crawford with a backhand, Toews beat Bobrovsky with a wrist shot to tie it and Kane patiently deked Bobrovsky and scored with a backhand. Crawford stopped Derick Brassard to win it.

‘‘That was nice,’’ Kane said. ‘‘It’s a way better feeling here when we win. That team’s been playing really well lately. It was a good fight for us. It was a very tight-checking game. It was great for our confidence to get a win.’’



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