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Blue Jackets rout Blackhawks

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Antoine Vermette had two goals and an assist, and the Columbus Blue Jackets scored four second-period goals to hand the Chicago Blackhawks their worst loss of the season, 8-3 on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks missed a chance to clinch a playoff berth on their own, but secured a spot when Calgary lost to the New York Islanders.

Kristian Huselius also scored twice, and Mike Commodore, Andrew Murray, Jackub Voracek — on a penalty shot — and rookie Mike Blunden also found the net.

Samuel Pahlsson added two assists and Steve Mason made 38 saves.

The eights goals for Columbus set a mark for most scored at home and tied the franchise record for most in a game.

Kris Versteeg, Tomas Kopecky and Adam Burish scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks have allowed 21 goals in their last six games and are 5-5-2 since the Olympic break.

Starter Cristobal Huet was pulled in favor of Antti Niemi late in the second period with the score 5-1. Huet was put back in to start the third.

The Blue Jackets enjoyed a 2-0 lead after the first and skated off after the second with a commanding 6-1 advantage.

Commodore, a defenseman, scored his first goal in 75 games, banking a shot from a sharp-angle deep in the corner along the goal line off Huet 32 seconds in.

Just past the midpoint, Huselius converted into an open net on a tic-tac-toe passing combination with Rick Nash and Vermette near the Chicago goal.

The Blackhawks looked as if they would get back into the game on Versteeg's early second period tally, his 17th, a floating wrist shot.

But the Blue Jackets responded with the next four to close out the period.

Voracek was then awarded a penalty shot when Niklas Hjalmarsson took him down on a breakaway at 11:02. The second-year right wing beat Huet with a backhand shot for his 14th of the season and the sixth penalty shot goal in franchise history.

NOTES: Columbus would have been officially eliminated from playoff contention with a loss. ... The Blue Jackets announced they have parted ways with the Syracuse Crunch, their minor league affiliate of 10 seasons and have signed a one-year contract with the Springfield Falcons, also of the AHL. ... The teams will close out their season series on Saturday in Chicago. ...Blackhawks C Dave Bolland was a late scratch due to an illness.