CHICAGO – Antoine Vermette, Derek MacKenzie and Anton Stralman scored in a span of 5:54 in the second period and the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
Matt Calvert added a goal and an assist for Columbus, which improved to 6-1-1 in its last eight and has climbed back into the congested Western Conference playoff race.
Patrick Sharp had two goals and assisted on a score by Patrick Kane as the Blackhawks' top line — along with Jonathan Toews — accounted for all of Chicago's offense. Kane and Toews both had two assists.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville missed his second straight game after being hospitalized on Wednesday morning with gastrointestinal bleeding caused by an ulcer. In a statement, team physician Dr. Michael Terry said the condition was brought on by aspirin, but club officials have not dicussed a possible return date.
Assistant coach Mike Haviland was in charge behind bench again on Friday for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who have been plagued by inconsistency and lapses, and are trying to move back into playoff position in the West.
Columbus's Steve Mason made 37 saves, while Chicago's Corey Crawford had 32.
Calvert opened the scoring 5:32 in with a highlight reel goal. After blocking Duncan Keith's shot from the right point, Calvert raced down the ice with the puck while fighting off Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy. Calvert capped the effort by sliding in a backhand shot after he had left his feet to make a move. Sharp then scored on consecutive shifts to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead as the Blackhawks began to dominate.
Sharp tied it at 1 at 7:32 on a breakaway. He was sent in alone on crisp pass from Kane after Kane picked off Grant Clitsome's pass in the neutral zone. Sharp then put Chicago ahead at 10:04 with his 30th goal, rifled in from the slot after he took a behind-the-net feed from Toews.
Vermette, MacKenzie and Stralman then scored in the nearly 6-minute stretch to put Columbus ahead 4-2.
Vermette's power-play goal on a rebound midway through the second tied it. MacKenzie made it 3-2 with 7:32 left in the second when he poked in a loose puck that trickled through Crawford's pads following a save on Calvert.
Stralman made it 4-2 just over 3 minutes later on a screened shot during a power-play for his first goal in more than a year. Kane replied 21 seconds later and cut it to 4-3 after taking a pass from Toews to complete a 2-on-1 break.
Stralman took a delay of game penalty with 2:28 left when he shot the puck over the glass, but the Blackhawks were unable to tie it despite a late flurry.
NOTES: Quenneville has been in regular contact with his coaching staff. "I spoke to him this morning," Haviland said following Friday's game-day skate. "You know he's actually going a little stir-crazy there. He was in great spirits." ... Columbus C Derick Brassard missed his first game after suffering an injured left hand Wednesday in a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles. He was placed on IR and is expected to miss two to three weeks. ... Blue Jackets D Rostilav Klesla missed his 10th game with a knee injury. ... Chicago C Ryan Johnson and RW Fernando Pisani both sat out with concussions.