COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—The Blackhawks made all the right adjustments after they realized their nonchalant defensive play had cost them the lead.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews(notes) scored twice in the third period and added an assist as the Blackhawks rallied to sweep a home-and-home series against the Columbus Blue Jackets with a 6-5 victory on Saturday.
After blowing a 3-1 lead and facing a 4-3 deficit heading into the final period, the Blackhawks scored three times in the final period to skate away with their fifth win when trailing after two periods.
“I think all-around a lot of their offensive chances came off the rush,” Toews said. “As forwards, we just never seemed to have a high guy. We were always getting beat back by their third guy or their defenseman jumping in the rush. That’s where a lot of good scoring chances came from and a couple goals too. We focused on that.”
Entering the game having allowed the second fewest goals in the league, the Blackhawks also seem able to flip a switch and start scoring goals.
Andrew Ladd(notes), Marian Hossa(notes) and Troy Brouwer(notes) each had a goal and an assist, and Ben Eager(notes) also scored for Chicago, which started the day tied for the most points in the league with 68.
“I think everybody got excited offensively,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They had a lot of rush chances that first period and got some momentum off of that. Then the early goals in the second period put us back against it. But we had a good third period and we were dangerous on the rush ourselves.”
Columbus captain Rick Nash(notes) scored twice to snap a career-tying 11-game goal scoring skid, Kristian Huselius(notes) had a goal and two assists, and Kris Russell(notes) and Raffi Torres(notes) also scored for Columbus.
“It was a wide-open hockey game,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchock said. “I thought both teams’ defenses were vulnerable. We had a lot of chances to score and they had chances. We poured a lot into today and didn’t get the result.”
Columbus has lost seven times when leading after two periods.
Toews scored again on the power play with a tough-angle wrist shot from the right circle at 15:03 for his 16th.
“A lot of us—me personally—weren’t shooting the puck at the right times,” Toews said. “So we changed that up a little bit.”
It looked like Chicago would break the game open after jumping to a 3-1 lead near the midway point of the first period.
Ladd started the scoring with his ninth just 2:29 in, slotting home an easy rebound Mason didn’t control.
Just after Kane zipped a shot off the post, he centered to an unmarked Brouwer in the slot and he slid a low shot past Mason at 7:36.
Byfuglien blasted another Blackhawks shot off the iron, but the long rebound sent the Blue Jackets the other way on an odd-man rush. Jake Voracek fed Huselius, who beat Cristobal Huet(notes) for his 20th at 11:44 to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 2-1.
Hossa scored 24 seconds later, gathering his own whiffed shot and scoring from the right circle with his 12th.
“I think in the first period we started the game pretty well,” said Huet, who finished with 21 saves. “We got a big lead and then after that I think we felt a bit too comfy.”
Seemingly down and out, Columbus roared back with three straight scores to take a 4-3 lead.
Late in the period, the rebound of a jam shot by Umberger, squirted to Nash in the slot. He snapped a one-timer over Huet for his 20th goal but first since Dec. 23.
Early in the second period, Russell, a defenseman, jumped into the play and scored on a wrist shot from the left circle, his fifth at 3:25, to tie it.
Shortly after a Chicago interference penalty expired, Nash scored on a wrist shot from the right wing inside the far post for his 21st at 7:12. Huet broke his stick in half over the goal post in frustration.
“We’ve got to do that from the opening puck drop,” Russell said.
Torres scored his 14th at 17:38 of the third to make it 6-5.
NOTES: The Blackhawks’ trip eventually takes them through Western Canada and California before ending in North Carolina. … Columbus is 2-6-4 against its Central-Division opponents. … Chicago is 11-3-0 and has eight consecutive wins in the division. … It was only the third time in 23 home games Columbus has scored four or more goals. … Chicago D Cam Barker(notes) returned after missing the last five games with an injury.