COLUMBUS, Ohio – To Cristobal Huet it wasn’t so much the quantity of shots he faced, it was the lack of quality ones.
Huet stopped 48 shots and made Jonathan Toews’ goal in the shootout stand up to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.
“They threw a lot of pucks at the net,” Huet said. “We made a few mistakes, but overall I think most of their shots were from the outside, which is fine.”
The Blue Jackets peppered Huet with 51 shots, the second most in franchise history. Huet not only stopped 48 of them, he also batted away attempts by Kristian Huselius, Rick Nash and Jake Voracek in the shootout.
Huet had not faced more than 48 shots and had not had more than 44 saves in a game in his NHL career.
Toews, up first in the shootout for the Blackhawks, hit a low shot off the left post that ricocheted into the net behind Columbus goaltender Fredrik Norrena.
“It’s big for us to come in here and steal one on the road,” said Toews after the Blackhawks won their first road game (1-3-1) of the season.
Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook and Martin Havlat had the Chicago goals, with Duncan Keith and Kris Versteeg adding two assists.
R.J. Umberger and Fedor Tyutin scored their first goals in a Columbus uniform, with Huselius adding the tying goal with 7:52 left in regulation. Rookie Derick Brassard had two assists.
The Blackhawks improved to 4-1-2 under coach Joel Quenneville.
“That was definitely a goalie win tonight,” Quenneville said. “He was great and we battled back there. I fell like he (Huet) was the story of the night and I feel that Jonny (Jonathan Toews) has been great in shootouts and we found a way (to win).”
When the Blue Jackets threatened, Huet was up to the challenge. Columbus was just 1-for-10 on the power play.
“We overwhelmed them for most of the game, but we lost the special teams game,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They scored two and we scored one and that’s the story of the game. Then they won the shootout special teams, too.”
Chicago, outshot 18-5 in the second period, took a 2-1 lead when Seabrook notched his third goal of the season on a one-timer from the left circle.
The Blue Jackets got even in the third period – while short-handed after failing to score on five power-play chances in the second period. Nash fended off a defender while turning his back to the net, then sent a pass to the high slot where Tyutin beat Huet with a rocket.
The celebration didn’t last long. Just 33 seconds later, Keith’s shot from the right point – with the Blackhawks still on the power play – was blocked by Norrena, but the puck eluded him. Havlat swooped in to score his fourth goal.
Huselius then evened things up, skating off the wall and taking a drop pass from Brassard before sending a shot high glove side for his fourth.
Huet was strong the rest of the way as the Blackhawks were outshot 8-1 in the overtime.
Columbus defencemen Tyutin and Rostislav Klesla each sent shots off the posts.
“The posts today were on our side,” Huet said.
Hitchcock’s team has lost four of the past five – three by a goal and two by two goals.
“My ears are ringing with all the goal posts we hit today,” he said. “(But) if we can continue to play like this, we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Notes: Before the game, Columbus activated LW Raffi Torres, who had to sit out the first 10 games after sustaining a separated shoulder against Chicago in a pre-season game. … The Blackhawks return home for five games. … The Blue Jackets played the first in a span of five-of-six games at home.