Toews scores twice, Chicago ends skid, 6-3
The Chicago Blackhawks looked at their meeting with Columbus as an opportunity to turn things around after a three-game skid.
For the downtrodden Blue Jackets, it was just more of the same.
Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist, and the Blackhawks' struggling power play scored twice in a 6-3 victory over the stumbling Columbus on Thursday night.
Andrew Brunette, Steve Montador, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, which lost 3-0 at St. Louis on Tuesday. Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook both had two assists in the Blackhawks' highest-scoring game of the season. Corey Crawford made 27 saves.
''Obviously, we wanted to stop sliding like we were,'' said Montador, who also had an assist. ''We realize our success comes from what we put into a game. We wanted to keep it simple.''
Chicago entered last in the NHL on the power play, converting just 5 of 57 opportunities. But the Blackhawks scored on two of their three advantages to get out of their rut against the Blue Jackets, among the worst in the league on the penalty kill.
''We had a real good first period and then all of a sudden we get the power play going and we get some excitement in our team, as well,'' Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. ''It was nice to see a couple nice plays, a couple nice finishes around the net.''
Toews scored twice in the first period, the second on the Blackhawks' first power play. Toews sent a soft shot from the left circle on net that somehow eluded goalie Steve Mason for a 2-1 Chicago lead.
''We just wanted to try and wear them down and discourage them a little bit,'' Toews said of the Blue Jackets, who are an NHL-worst 2-12-1. ''We knew it wasn't about what they do as a team, it was more about us being prepared and getting back to the way we play.''
Brunette opened the second period with another power-play goal.
Montador then converted Duncan Keith's pass from the corner while unchecked in the slot. Kane made it 5-1 when he took an errant pass from Columbus' Vinny Prospal, skated in alone on Mason, deked and scored on the backhand.
Hossa scored over a sprawling Mason 32 seconds into the third period.
The Blue Jackets have been outscored 19-6 in a three-game losing streak.
Rumors have swirled recently that the jobs of Blue Jackets second-year coach Scott Arniel and general manager Scott Howson were in jeopardy, or that Columbus would pull off a big trade to shake up the team.
An announced crowd of 15,048 - that appeared to be closer to half of that - booed loudly when the Blackhawks pulled away in the second period.
''We look like a group that's very fragile,'' Arniel said. ''I mean, we got off to a very slow, fragile start. Then they scored a couple of power-play goals and it was obviously wide open after that.''
Grant Clitsome had a career-best two goals, and newly acquired Mark Letestu also scored for the Blue Jackets. Rick Nash earned his 500th NHL point by assisting on Letestu's goal. Fedor Tyutin had two assists.
''Same old story, it seems like,'' Clitsome said. ''It's frustrating.''
Defenseman James Wisniewski said it was up to the players to regain their confidence.
''Any mistake we (make) it just ends up in the back of the net,'' he said. ''A lot of guys are hanging their heads, which we have to get over. We just have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start playing some hockey.''
NOTES: Columbus activated F Jared Boll (broken thumb) before the game. He hadn't played yet this season. ... Chicago hadn't scored more than one power-play goal - nor more than five goals - in a game this season. ... The Blue Jackets acquired Letestu from the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this week for a fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft. ... The Blackhawks are 35-23-7 against Columbus, including 18-12-4 on the road.