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

forced layoff.

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

third period.

“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.