CHICAGO (AP)—It took an unlikely scorer to end an unsightly streak for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Havlat, Chicago’s leading scorer, had just five assists in 13 previous contests entering Friday.
“He cares a lot, but I told him he can only do so much,” Chicago coach Denis Savard said. “I told him, `Obviously, you’re a big piece of our puzzle and our best player, but you can’t do it alone. You need help from everybody.”’
Havlat, Chicago’s only true offensive star, was relieved to finally connect.
“It’s been pretty tough not to think about,” he said. “I’ve never had that many games before (without a goal). I’m just happy I got that one tonight.”
Probably a bigger key to Chicago’s win was tighter, more fundamentally sound play. On Thursday, Savard had reviewed video clips with his players to point out mistakes.
“We had a long talk yesterday about what we wanted to do well and what makes our team successful,” Seabrook said. “Work hard, do the little things well. You can see what happens. This helps us realize we’re a good team when we do these things.”
Jason Chimera scored for Columbus, which lost for the second time in two nights.
“Their tenacity in their own zone to defend was greater than ours was to score and that was the bottom line,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They didn’t give us any odd-man rushes and it was our best players that didn’t have the tenacity to score.”
Chicago’s Patrick Lalime stopped 31 shots. Columbus’ Brian Boucher, who started the season with the Blackhawks, made 22 saves, including a blocker stop on penalty shot by Chicago’s Duncan Keith midway through the third.
Sharp and Havlat scored 21 seconds apart late in the first period to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
From the slot, Sharp batted in a rebound of Seabrook’s shot from the right point with 5:05 left in the first to open the scoring.
With 4:44 left in the first, Havlat fooled Boucher with a low shot from the slot to make it 2-0.
“I might have been a little screened there, but it just went under my pads,” Boucher said.
“I’m playing for a job, so there’s no lack of motivation on my side,” he added.
Lapointe’s short-handed goal with 8:48 left in the second capped a 2-on-1 break with Denis Arkhipov and gave Chicago a 3-0 lead.
Chimera’s power-play goal 44 seconds later cut it to 3-1. He scored from the right circle after taking Nikolai Zherdev’s pass from behind the net.
Boucher made a blocker save on Keith’s penalty shot at 9:39 of the third. The attempt was awarded to Keith after he was hooked from behind by Columbus’ Fredrik Modin.
“I never had a penalty shot in game,” said Keith, a second-year defenseman. “It was a nice play by Havlat to steal the puck and get it to me.”
With the win, the Blackhawks have 65 points, as many as they did last season. …. Boucher was claimed on waivers by Columbus from Chicago on Feb. 27. … Columbus LW Jody Shelley missed the game with a cracked facial bone, suffered Thursday in 5-2 loss to Anaheim. … Chicago RW Peter Bondra missed his second game, and sixth in his last seven with a sore shoulder. … Blackhawks RW Nikita Alexeev was a healthy scratch.