Blue Jackets-Blackhawks Preview
The Chicago Blackhawks picked up a big victory despite the
absence of their coach in their last game.
They will be without Joel Quenneville again Friday night when
they try to stop the Columbus Blue Jackets’ five-game road win
Chicago (29-22-6) was stunned by the news that Quenneville was
admitted to the hospital early Wednesday morning after he started
feeling discomfort at home late Tuesday. There was no update before
or after the Blackhawks’ 3-1 win that night over Minnesota.
On Thursday, Quenneville was diagnosed with a small ulcer that
created gastrointestinal bleeding due to taking aspirin. No
timetable has been established for his return.
Assistant Mike Haviland served as acting coach Tuesday, and
Chicago responded with two power-play goals. Troy Brouwer put the
Blackhawks ahead for good with one of them in the third period.
“We just knew what we had to do and what Q wanted us to do,
compete and work hard and not change everything,” captain Jonathan
Toews said. “Havi was great behind the bench. He had full control
of everything and showed his experience as a head coach and a
leader, and did a great job.”
Haviland will again be behind the bench and said Friday that
Quenneville is “actually going a little stir-crazy” due to the
The Blackhawks are 6 for 21 on the power play during a 2-0-2
stretch. Dave Bolland, who assisted on all three goals Wednesday,
has assists on Chicago’s last four power-play tallies.
“We can’t get too ahead of ourselves and try to make the pretty
play,” Bolland said. “If we make the simple play and that puck in,
we’re going to do wonders and we’re going to do a great job.”
Columbus (28-23-6) is seeking to win six in a row on the road
for the first time in franchise history. Former Calder Trophy
winner Steve Mason has been in goal for all of those wins, posting
a 1.19 goals-against average in that span.
Mason, though, was suffering from bronchitis Wednesday. Mathieu
Garon started in a 4-3 shootout loss to Los Angeles.
The Blue Jackets rallied three times from one-goal deficits,
tying the game at 3 on Kris Russell’s goal with 1:23 left in the
“It’s big to get the point,” captain Rick Nash said. “It shows
how much character we have. We fought through a little adversity.
With the lines getting mixed up like that it’s tough to keep a
flow. It’s a good point.”
Nash had a goal and two assists despite playing mostly without
linemate Derick Brassard, who lasted 43 seconds before leaving when
a puck hit his left hand. Brassard, third on the team with 39
points, was placed on injured reserve Thursday and will be out at
least two weeks.
That’s good news for Chicago since Brassard scored once in each
of the last three meetings. The Blackhawks have won three of four
over the Blue Jackets, limiting Nash to one assist.
Patrick Sharp has five goals and two assists in the season
series. He has 11 goals and seven assists during a 13-game point
streak against Columbus.