CHICAGO – The Columbus Blue Jackets needed to bounce back, and they did it the hard way against a tough opponent.
Antoine Vermette scored on a deflection at 6:29 of the third period to snap a tie, and Columbus rebounded from an early two-goal deficit to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Saturday night.
Vermette got the game-winner from the left side of the slot by redirecting Marc Methot’s shot from the right point over goalie Corey Crawford’s right shoulder.
The Blue Jackets had been badly outplayed at home in a 6-2 loss to Calgary on Friday night. And for nearly two periods on Saturday, Columbus was en route to being shut out.
“The fact we had a bad game in the first of back-to-back games kind of set this up as a big one,” Vermette said. “We wanted to come up with a strong effort.”
Vermette assisted on R.J. Umberger’s power-play goal earlier in the third that tied it 2-2. Derick Brassard scored with 35.7 seconds left in the second period for the Blue Jackets, who dominated the third and outshot the defending Stanley Cup champions 20-8 in the period.
“You’ve heard that goals late at the end of periods are killers, and for us it really helped,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said. “I’m really happy with the way we bounced back. It showed we could play hard as a group.”
The Blue Jackets rolled into the third period with nearly all of five-minute power play remaining. With 29 seconds left in the middle period, Chicago’s Troy Brouwer received a major penalty for boarding after he hit defenceman Fedor Tyutin from behind.
“We had a great opportunity with the five-minute power play, and we took it,” Vermette said.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville offered a similar analysis.
“We were up 2-0 with an offensive-zone faceoff and 30 seconds to go (in the second period),” Quenneville said. “And giving up a goal and a five-minute major in the last shift of the second, it obviously was the turning point of the game.”
Columbus goalie Steve Mason made 30 saves.
Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and assist for Chicago, which lost its second straight. Crawford, the Blackhawks’ backup goalie, made 37 saves in his third start this season.
The loss dropped the Blackhawks, who fell 4-2 at St. Louis on Friday, to 5-4-1.
“We’ve got to be way better,” Quenneville said. “We lost two tough games in a row when we should have gotten something out of both nights. We definitely left some meat on the table.”
Both teams played their third game in four nights. The Blackhawks have played an NHL-high 10 games.
Sharp opened the scoring 7:23 in when he slipped unchecked to the edge of the crease and tapped Toews’ feed into a wide-open net.
Toews’ power-play goal with 5:15 left in the first made it 2-0. With Mason down and Methot trying to cover a loose puck, Toews scored from a goal-mouth scramble.
Brassard cut it to 2-1 with 35.7 seconds left in the second. Jakub Voracek’s centring pass from the right corner deflected off Chicago defenceman Nick Boynton’s stick and directly to Brassard, who was racing down the slot.
Seven seconds later, Brouwer sent Tyutin headfirst into the boards.
Tyutin returned in the third period, and set up a power-play goal at 1:33 that tied it 2-2. His drive from the right point appeared to strike Umberger, who was in front of the net with Chicago defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Notes: Chicago D Brian Campbell skated on Saturday for the first time since spraining his right knee in a preseason game on Oct. 1. … Blackhawks RW Tomas Kopecky sat out with an upper body injury. His roster spot was filled by C Evan Brophey, who made his NHL debut on Chicago’s fourth line after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL on Saturday. … Columbus D Kris Russell missed his third game because of a lower body injury. D Mike Commodore sat out a fifth time because of an upper body injury, and RW Jared Boll missed his sixth game due to a lower back injury. All three were listed as day-to-day.