Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw both tallied twice, as Chicago trounced Columbus for the 12th consecutive time, 6-1, at United Center.
Bryan Bickell and Brandon Bollig also hit the back of the net for the Blackhawks, winners in two of three to keep pace in the race for the Central Division crown. St. Louis beat Nashville by a 2-1 count to remain two points ahead.
"We're motivated to build ourselves into the team we want to be come playoff time, but that adds to it to keep us honest, to make sure we're competing the right way every night," Toews said of the division race.
Brent Seabrook and Marcus Kruger each collected two assists, while Corey Crawford stopped 22 shots.
Ryan Johansen provided the lone offense for the Blue Jackets, who saw their three-game win streak halted and have not beaten their former division rivals since a 4-3 decision on Feb. 18, 2011.
"I thought we lacked intensity. It wasn't everyone. We had some guys that wanted to get involved, but there were too many guys who weren't involved in the game," Columbus head coach Todd Richards said.
Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on 18 shots in 32-plus minutes to take the loss. Curtis McElhinney finished the contest with 13 stops.
Ahead by a goal, Chicago locked up the contest with three strikes in the middle frame.
Toews provided a 3-1 margin at the eight-minute mark of the second when he tapped in a Brandon Saad pass at the right post, and Bickell boosted the home advantage to 4-1 with 12:29 gone off a Kris Versteeg rebound which sent Bobrovsky to the bench.
Seabrook's left-point blast with 2:16 before intermission was deflected home by Shaw and gave Chicago a 5-1 edge.
Patrick Kane fed Toews for a rising shot over a seated McElhinney for a power- play strike and 6-1 advantage at 3:04 of the third.
Bollig's backhanded shot put the hosts on the board with 4:12 gone in the first period, then Johansen evened the score just prior to the eight-minute mark.
Shaw sent the Blackhawks to intermission up by a goal, when he cruised up the right wing and beat Bobrovsky to the near side.
Thursday's contest marked the first time the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets squared off as inter-conference rivals. Columbus was placed in the Central Division along with Chicago upon its 2000 inception and remained their until this season ... Blue Jackets defenseman Nikita Nikitin left the game in the first period, returned in the second, then left once more and did not return with what is being called an upper-body injury.