Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted 8:48 p.m. Updated 9:53 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
COLUMBUS, Ohio Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville asked Viktor Stalberg about getting into a shootout a few weeks ago.
WATCH: Stalberg happily in shootout lineups
On Friday night Quenneville wasnt asking as much as telling Stalberg he was in the top three. And for the second time in as many attempts this season, Stalberg came through.
Bryan Bickell scored late in regulation to tie it and Stalberg had the shootout winner as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 at Nationwide Arena. The victory kept the Blackhawks eighth in the Western Conference; Calgary, a 3-2 winner in St. Louis, remained three points behind them.
Stalbergs only other shootout was Nov. 6 in Atlanta, another game-winner. But hes been good at it during Blackhawks practices and skates, so he got another chance on Friday.
So far so good I guess, Stalberg said of his 1.000 shootout percentage. I do a lot in practice and try to score as much as I can there. (Quenneville) asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go if we had the chance. We havent had any shootouts since he asked me. But that was a big point. At least I got a chance to win it.
The Blackhawks took advantage of things early in this one. Patrick Kane scored on a 2-on-1 sprung by Chris Campoli, and Brent Seabrook scorched one 15 seconds into the Blackhawks first power play for a 2-0 lead.
But then the Blackhawks got sloppy, with turnovers in the first and five penalties in the second period. The Blue Jackets, playing without Rick Nash and eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday, looked more like the team playing for something.
We killed for half the (second) period. And a lot of them were stupid penalties, too. We need to jeep the sticks on the ice and use our legs to backcheck and forecheck, defenseman Brian Campbell said. We were a little sloppy. But we got the win which is what we needed.
Still, it was looking unlikely for a while. The Blue Jackets were pushing the pace and tied it late in the second period on Derick Brassards 5-on-3 goal. Columbus then took a 3-2 lead about 13 minutes into the third, with Sami Pahlsson deflecting Anton Stralmans shot.
But just 95 seconds later Bickells knuckle-ball shot went under Mathieu Garons arm to tie it.
We gave up that 5 on 3 which was tough to swallow, Seabrook said. We just needed to be more disciplined, keep our sticks down and work harder. Thats what we did in the third period and we got the result that we wanted.
Bryan Bickell's goal with 5:03 remaining guaranteed at least one point for the Blackhawks. The goal was No. 17 this season for Bickell, but first since March 5 at Toronto. (AP)
The Blackhawks didnt get their desired game on Friday night. They did, however, get the desired result.
We came out of that (second) period very fortunate to be even, Quenneville said. Well take what we can get right now. It turned out to be a huge win for us.
Johnson a Masterton candidate
Ryan Johnson came back from two broken feet to become a solid faceoff-winning and shot-blocking center for the Blackhawks. For that reason, Johnson was nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Chicago media. Johnson spent all offseason and part of the fall coming back from his foot injuries; he broke each on blocked shots. He made his Blackhawks debut in mid-December.
Theres nothing more rewarding than getting back to where you want to be (after injuries). I never thought about giving up, Johnson said. I needed a lot of the summer to get back. Patience is a hard trait to have when youre used to that point of the summer gearing up and getting back on the ice.
Johnson bided his time, got healthy and then, when the time came, answered the Blackhawks call. Hes been effective for them in several categories including faceoffs, where he won 11 of 15 against Columbus on Friday.
I wanted to be patient and let teams figure out what they knew they had or didnt have and the phone eventually started ringing, he said. I just wanted to put myself in the best situation to win a championship. That was here.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.