Blue Jackets keep it close again but drop 11th straight to Blackhawks

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- After a two-game break, the Chicago Blackhawks are back in business, and another point streak is under way.
Patrick Kane scored the shootout game-clincher with a dizzying display in the second round, pushing the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over Columbus on Thursday night in Nationwide Arena.
Jonathan Toews and Kane scored in the shootout for Chicago. After Artem Anisimov scored in the first round for Columbus, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped Ryan Johansen and Derick Brassard in the second and third rounds to clinch the win.
"It's nice," Kane said. "It's a way better feeling in here when we win. They're a good team, especially compared to last year. It was a good fight for us, a tight checking game.
"For us to come out and get two points, it's a good confidence boost. It's good to feel a win again."
The Blue Jackets leaned hard on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky -- he stopped 39 of 40 shots and was terrific in overtime -- but couldn't get over the hump against the Blackhawks.
The Jackets have lost all four games to Chicago this season by one goal, and have dropped 11 straight (8-0-3) to the Blackhawks, dating to the 2010-11 season.
"It's more disappointing than anything else," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "Our goaltender played so well. We had chance to win. We played hard enough to win. But we started to tire late in the game, and you could tell in the third period and overtime.
"You're saying 'Maybe we can just a bounce here,' but it didn't happen for us. That's disappointing."
Johnny Oduya scored in regulation for the Blackhawks, ending his 39-game drought without a goal. Goaltender Corey Crawford had 29 saves.
Jack Johnson scored for the Blue Jackets, who set a franchise record with a point in their ninth straight game. They are 6-0-3 since the streak began with an overtime loss to the Dallas Stars on Feb. 26.
Bobrovsky has stopped 200 of 208 shots, a .962 save percentage, in his last seven games.
Chicago had lost two straight games since their NHL-record 24-game point streak to open a season ended March 8 in Colorado.
The Blackhawks have won 11 straight (9-0-2) against the Blue Jackets, the longest active winning streak between two clubs. The streak dates to Feb. 18, 2011.
The game was scoreless until late in the second period.
At 16:45 of the second, Kane backhanded a pass across the slot to Oduya, who had crept in through the left circle and had a mostly open net at which to fire.
Only 19 seconds later, though, the Blue Jackets went on the power play, and it didn't take them long to cash in.
At 17:37 of the second, a shot into the slot caromed off Brassard and skidded through the slot to a waiting Johnson, who ripped a slap shot by Crawford to make it 1-1.
Both teams had ample chances in overtime, but Crawford and Bobrovsky were up to the task.
In the shootout, Toews beat Bobrovsky five-hole and Kane put on a flurry of moves -- forehand to backhand, and back again a few times -- before lifting it into the net off his backhand.
Artem Anisimov scored in the first round for the Blue Jackets, but Johansen and Brassard came up empty. Brassard's attempt was poked away easily by Crawford before he could even release a shot on goal.
"We dropped two in a row," Crawford said, "and we felt like we could have brought more. Today was more of a team game from us."
NOTES: The Blackhawks are 9-0-0 vs. Central Division this season. ... Kane's second-period assist was the 400th point of his career. ... Under the NHL's realignment plan, adopted Thursday by the league's Board of Governors, the Blue Jackets will move to the Eastern Conference next season after spending their first 12 seasons in the Western Conference. ... The Blue Jackets sent center Nick Drazenovic to minor-league AHL Springfield before the game.

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