COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist, Kevin Lankinen stopped 23 shots and the Chicago Blackhawks rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 on Saturday night.
Carl Soderberg, Wyatt Kalynuk and Dylan Strome also scored for the Blackhawks, who had dropped five of the last seven while battling Nashville and Dallas for the fourth playoff spot in the Central Division.
Earlier in the day, Columbus traded one of the team’s longest-tenured players, defenseman David Savard, to Tampa Bay for draft choices.
The Blue Jackets started strong and then faded.
Del Zotto connected on a shot from the blue line 1:03 into the game, and two minutes later Atkinson tapped in a goal off a nice feed from Jack Roslovic from the right wall to put Columbus up 2-0.
“We just weren’t ready to play,” DeBrincat said. “We were getting beat off the wall, missing checks. That’s pretty much what was said in the time out, just wake up a bit. I think we did a good job of scoring a few there and winning the game.”
DeBrincat scored on a one-timer from the right circle in the final seconds of a power play at 10:13 of the first. Then Soderberg tied it when he lifted a short shot over Merzlikins’ shoulder late in the first.
Chicago grabbed the lead early in the second when the puck barely trickled over the goal line as Columbus’ Kevin Stenlund dug at it trying to clear, with rookie Kalynuk getting credit for his first NHL goal. Strome tallied late in the second.
With an empty net on the other end, Laine made it 4-3 with 49 seconds left in the game but time ran out for Columbus.
“I don’t think we played hard enough through the middle part of that game,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “Found our way in the third period.”
The Blue Jackets were without forward Boone Jenner and defenseman Zach Werenski because of recent injuries. Injured center Riley Nash was traded to Toronto on Friday for a seventh-round draft pick in 2022.
DE HAAN HURT
Chicago defenseman Calvin de Haan suffered a hip pointer and did not play in the third period. “I don’t think it’s long term but we’ll have to see how he is the next couple of days,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said.
HE’LL TAKE IT
The 23-year-old Kalynuk’s first NHL goal was in question briefly while officials reviewed video to make sure the puck crossed the line. Then it withstood a review after the Blue Jackets challenged the play for goaltender interference.
“Obviously, not how I could’ve imagined it,” he said. “I think even after it was reviewed, I saw it a few times and I didn’t think it was even close. But the ref must’ve gotten a good view of it from behind the net. It’s something you dream of. I know my mom and dad and grandma Betty are smiling back home so it feels good, for sure.”
HE SAID IT
“It wasn’t pretty, but we don’t care if it’s pretty,” Colliton said. “We need the points.
FAREWELL TO FOLIGNO?
Captain Nick Foligno was scratched and may have played his last game as a Blue Jacket. Foligno was reported to have an upper-body injury but could possibly be traded before Monday’s deadline. The 33-year-old Foligno, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, has played 599 games for Columbus since being traded from Ottawa in 2012.
The teams wrap up a two-game series Monday in Columbus.