Corey Crawford returned but had a limited roster in front of him. But even with a number of the Blackhawks stars watching from home or the press box, it took a power play goal in overtime for the Blue Jackets to knock off the defending champs.
Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov and Andrew Shaw didn’t travel with the team to Columbus. Duncan Keith is still suspended. And Jonathan Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson received a well-earned night off. That’s an all-star team out of uniform.
The Blackhawks did dress their two most dynamic offensive weapons, however. And they had a huge night in the loss.
Patrick Kane scored his 45th of the season and Artemi Panarin his 29th and 30th in the first period as the Hawks sprinted to a 3-0 lead. And yet Columbus out-shot the Hawks 10-8 in the opening 20 minutes, even with Chicago having two power plays (Panarin scored his first goal with the advantage).
The Jackets flipped the script on the Hawks in the second, matching the Hawks’ three goals to send the game to the second intermission tied. Scott Hartnell, Matt Calvert and Brandon Saad took care of the scoring for Columbus. The goal was Saad’s 31st on the campaign.
Alexander Wennberg gave Columbus a lead 3:09 into the third, but Kane answered less than seven minutes later. The goal closed Kane’s historic 2015-16 season with 46 goals and 106 points, finishing 17 points ahead of Jamie Benn to win the Art Ross Trophy.
Hartnell finished a four-point night with a power play goal in overtime, finishing the season on a high note for the Blue Jackets.
Crawford made 20 stops against 25 shots in the loss, his first action since March 14.
Eric Gustafsson and Christian Ehrhoff, two regular scratches over the last month, both skated more than 22 minutes in the game. Ehrhoff’s 22:56 led all Chicago skaters on the night. Brent Seabrook picked up two assists in the game.
Tomas Fleischmann had a brutal minus-four night but finished tied with Kane for second on the team with five shots on net. Panarin led the Hawks with six shots on net.
The Blackhawks will move on to face the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, hopefully with a full roster.