The Chicago Blackhawks shook off the fastest two-goal deficit they’ve faced all season and Wyatt Kalynuk scored his first NHL goal to help the Hawks rally to a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
It was the Hawks’ fifth victory over the Blue Jackets in seven games.
The win gives the Hawks 43 standings points as they attempt to stay within range of the Nashville Predators (45) in the Central Division and keep the Blue Jackets (38) at bay, though the Predators have a late game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Dallas Stars’ 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers keeps the Stars within five points of the Hawks with three games in hand.
Only 1:03 into the game Saturday, Michael Del Zotto fired a long-range shot that lipped out of Kevin Lankinen’s glove and into the net. Two minutes and 10 seconds later, perpetual Hawks tormentor Cam Atkinson tipped in a goal Jack Roslovic sent cross ice from the wall.
The marker gave Atkinson more goals (four) and points (10) versus the Hawks than he has against any other team.
The Blue Jacket goals in the first 3:13 was the quickest two-goal deficit to open a game this season by far.
The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn scored opening goals against the Hawks in 10:27 on March 5, and the Hawks rallied to win that game 4-3 in a shootout.
Alex DeBrincat kicked off Saturday night’s rally with his 21st goal.
A couple of tripping penalties gave the Hawks a five-on-three power play for 38 seconds, but the Blue Jackets killed off the first penalty. DeBrincat found the back of the net for his seventh power-play goal with five seconds left in the second man-advantage for his seventh power-play goal.
It also was one of two assists by Calvin de Haan, who left in the second period with a hip pointer, according to the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast.
Carl Soderberg tied it 2-2 with just under three minutes left in the first. Soderberg had been a healthy scratch, but he was added to the lineup after the Hawks made an “organizational decision” to hold out Mattias Janmark, Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton said after the morning skate.
Janmark has been rumored to be a target for other teams, and the trade deadline is Monday afternoon.
Kalynuk led off the second period with his first NHL goal, but before it went final referees had to confirm it crossed the goal line and that Brandon Hagel didn’t commit goalie interference while screening Elvis Merzlikins. Hagel’s contact was ruled incidental.
Despite the rough start, Lankinen salvaged his performance and had an outstanding night.
He shut down a couple dangerous situations about a minute apart in the third period after Nikita Zadorov and Kalynuk committed turnovers, stopping shots by Del Zotto and Oliver Bjorkstrand.
Dylan Strome combined with DeBrincat and Kirby Dach on a tic-tac-toe goal to make it 4-2.
With just over a minute left, the Blue Jackets pulled Merzlikins for a sixth attacker and Patrik Laine cut the lead to one with 49 seconds.
The Jackets were setting up for a tying goal, but DeBrincat knocked the puck out of the defensive zone and the Hawks held on for the win.