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Blackhawks 6, Blue Jackets 1

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Centers Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw scored two goals apiece as the Chicago Blackhawks routed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 on Thursday night at the United Center.

Toews, in particular, has been on a hot streak of late. He produced his second multi-goal game in the last three and has five goals and an assist during that stretch.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford shined in the net, stopping all but one of Columbus' 22 shots on goal.

Chicago (37-13-14) scored early when left winger Brian Bollig (seventh goal of the season) beat Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky with a wrist shot at 4:12 of the first period.

But the Blue Jackets (32-26-5) came right back at 7:56 when a 15-foot slapshot by center Ryan Johansen bounced off the rear of Crawford's left leg pad and trickled into the Chicago net, tying the score at 1. It was Johansen's team-leading 25th goal of the season.

Columbus came in with a 6-3-1 mark in their last 10 games -- vs. 4-4-2 for the Blackhawks -- but they were completely outplayed and outhustled by the Windy City red jerseys.

Shaw broke through the Columbus defense, went one-on-one with Bobrovsky and scored his 15th goal of the season on a wrister right in front of the net at 16:44 to put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1.

Chicago's third goal was a beauty. Left winger Brandon Saad conducted a stick-handling clinic first to the left and then to the right of Bobrovsky. Then, just when he had the Columbus goalie where he wanted, Saad flicked the puck through the crease to the wide-open Toews, who easily pushed it into the net past the out-of-position Bobrovsky.

It was Toews' 23rd goal of the season and his fourth in the last three games.

The Chicago onslaught continued at 12:29 of the second period when left winger Bryan Bickell got the better of Bobrovsky, making it 4-1 and threatening to turn the game into a blowout -- if it had not been so already.

Columbus coach Todd Richards had seen enough at that point and replaced Bobrovsky with backup Curtis McElhinney with 7:31 left in the second period. It was likely just an off-night for Bobrovsky, who came into the game with a 15-4-1 record in his last 20 starts.

Indeed, at 17:44 of the second, the game officially became a blowout when Shaw scored his second goal of the game and 16th of the season to make it a 5-1 rout -- and with one period to play.

But the Blackhawks were not done. At 3:04 of the third period on the power play, Toews scored again, tying injured Marian Hossa with 24 goals apiece this season, third most on the team behind Patrick Sharp (29) and Patrick Kane (27).

It was the first meeting between the two teams since last March 14, when the Blackhawks won a 2-1 shootout at Columbus. Chicago now leads the all-time series by a commanding 44-23-2-5 margin.

NOTES: Chicago posted its NHL-record 258th consecutive sellout at the United Center with Thursday's attendance of 21,179. ... The Blackhawks are off until Sunday, when they play the Sabres in Buffalo. Columbus plays the Predators on Saturday at Nashville. ... Newly acquired D David Rundblad, picked up from the Phoenix Coyotes in a trade on Tuesday, was a healthy scratch for the Blackhawks, along with D Michal Rozsival. Injured RW Marian Hossa was out, too. Columbus had four scratches: LW Blake Comeau, RW Corey Tropp, D Ryan Murray and D Cody Goloubef. ... Columbus' last win at Chicago came on Feb. 18, 2011. ... Chicago came into the game leading the NHL in goals (210) and goals per game (3.33). ... Chicago plays six of its next nine games at home. ... Injuries wreaked havoc on the Blue Jackets this season, who came into Thursday having lost 251 man-games. By comparison, Chicago had lost only 115 man-games.
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