Blue Jackets fall to ‘Hawks in Arniel’s home debut


AP Sports Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Marty Turco was so good for the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night that coach Joel Quenneville said he was “sharp.”

He didn’t mean it with a capital ‘s’ but maybe he should have.

Patrick Sharp broke open a one-goal game with two second-period scores to lead the Blackhawks past the Columbus Blue Jackets, 5-2 on Friday night.

“He had one of those nights,” Quenneville said.

Sharp’s career best in shots coming in was 10; he had nine through two periods and finished with 13.

Asked why he had the big shooting night, the seven-year vet said, “I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s a team mindset just to throw pucks on net.”

Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky each added a goal and an assist and Viktor Stalberg also had a goal for the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. Turco followed a mediocre performance in his first two games with 30 saves.

“It doesn’t really feel like it’s a load off my shoulders,” said Turco, an offseason free-agent signing who came in with an 0-1-1 record, 3.42 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. “But it is nice, for sure, to win. I didn’t put as much thought into it as a lot of people did.”

Quenneville felt it was a nice bounceback for the veteran.

“Turks was fine,” he said. “He was effective and made several quality stops. He looked sharp.”

R.J. Umberger’s short-handed goal drew Columbus to 2-1 early in the second period.

Midway through the period, Sharp countered with a short-handed goal of his own after Columbus’ Antoine Vermette gave up the puck with an unforced mistake in the offensive zone. Sharp swooped in on a 2-on-1 at the other end, netting a shot from near the left dot.

“That’s the worst,” Vermette said of the Blue Jackets’ play. “You’re going to get those games during the season, it’s a long season. We wanted to perform well in front of our fans. We were very disappointed about that tonight.”

Two minutes later, Troy Brouwer’s shot from a hard angle was deflected by goalie Steve Mason off his left leg pad — but the puck went directly to a waiting Sharp, who jammed it in for his third of the season.

“He almost got the (hat) trick,” Quenneville said. “He scored on a nice play short-handed. That was a big goal in response to their shortie.”

A capacity crowd booed the Blue Jackets — opening their 10th season — in the third period when they failed to get off a shot on a power play.

Kristian Huselius added a goal in new coach Scott Arniel’s Columbus debut.

“That was a big, fat egg we laid,” Arniel said. “Systemwise, we were loose. All the games we’ve played, exhibitions with all the kids we’ve had in there, that’s the loosest we’ve been since we’ve been trying to get things going here. Everything we tried to do backfired on us. All 20 players had a tough night.”

NOTES: The Blackhawks were without RW Patrick Kane (undisclosed illness) and D Brian Campbell (sprained knee). … Huselius’ goal was his third of the season and gave him goals in all three Columbus games. … Niklas Hjalmarsson also didn’t play for Chicago, serving the second of his two-game suspension for a hit on Buffalo’s Jason Pominville. … Hossa has points in all five Blackhawks games, with four goals and three assists.

Updated October 15, 2010