COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp each had a goal and two assists as the Chicago Blackhawks ended a lengthy nine-game road swing with a 6-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Patrick Kane added a goal and an assist and Viktor Stalberg continued his magic touch against the Blue Jackets with a goal. Stalberg has scored eight times against Columbus in five games this season — matching his total against the rest of the NHL in 51 games.
Corey Crawford had 33 saves as the Blackhawks won their second in a row. They ended a nine-game losing skid with a 4-2 win at the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Derick Brassard scored for Columbus, which has lost all five meetings with Chicago this season.
Marcus Kruger and Sami Lepisto added third-period goals for the Blackhawks, who matched their season-high in goals.
The game was played before a sell-out crowd of 18,663 — with a high percentage of them rooting for the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks, who averaged fewer than two goals a game in the losing streak, had two in the first period. And didn't let up.
The Blue Jackets had the upper hand for the first 10 minutes. Lepisto, who played last year in Columbus before being traded at the deadline, passed directly to his former teammate who skated in and fired a shot past Crawford.
Columbus had a chance to make it 2-0 soon after, but R.J. Umberger's second shot from in close got past Crawford only to have Brent Seabrook sweep the puck away as it bounced near the goal-line.
Toews tied it with his 29th, sliding the puck between the leg pads of Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason. The response in the arena wasn't nearly as loud as it might have been at United Center, but it was close.
Stalberg — who else? — then gave Chicago the lead. Mason mishandled a puck at the back wall and had to scramble back into the net. Meanwhile, Bryan Bickell whisked a centring pass from the left corner, with Stalberg reaching around rookie defenceman John Moore to beat Mason.
Up 2-1 in the second, the Blackhawks pulled away with two more goals to send Mason to the bench.
Kane slid a perfect cross-ice pass to Sharp who was all alone at the left doorstep and scored his 24th of the year.
Less than two minutes later, Kane's wrist shot from the high slot appeared to catch Mason by surprise, the puck dribbling behind him and into the net. He was pulled and replaced with rookie Allen York stopped 16-of-20 shots.
Mason could be seen yelling at a fan as he came to the bench.
Marcus Kruger and Lepisto then scored 49 seconds apart early in the third to make it 6-1.
NOTES: With nine days until the NHL trading deadline, nine teams had scouts at the game: St. Louis, Carolina, Ottawa, Washington, Detroit, New York Rangers, Dallas, Philadelphia and Montreal. ... The Blackhawks returned immediately after the game to begin a three-game homestand against the Blues on Sunday. ... York, a rookie, has changed teams 12 times this year, mostly as an emergency backup between the minors and Blue Columbus, and has played in only 19 games. ... The Blackhawks had scored six goals in four previous games this season.