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Stalberg's hat trick powers Blackhawks past Jackets

Jan 11, 2012 - 5:16 AM
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Viktor Stalberg notched his first career hat trick as Chicago downed Columbus, 5-2, at United Center.

Dave Bolland and Ben Smith also provided tallies for the Blackhawks, who put the brakes on a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Corey Crawford made 32 stops as Chicago bested its division rivals for the fourth straight time this season and for the eighth time in 10 meetings.

"Great feeling obviously. Some guys have to wait a long time to get one, but I have to thank my teammates for helping me cash in," Stalberg said of his milestone. "Maybe I should get the Players' Association to have a few more games a year against these guys. Seems like we bring it each time we play."

R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette scored for the Blue Jackets, who have lost 10 of their last 12 and failed to pick up a win in the debut of interim head coach Todd Richards.

Curtis Sanford allowed four goals on 24 shots in the setback.

Stalberg put the Blackhawks ahead by a 3-1 count at 6:32 of the third during a delayed penalty call, when he stickhandled around a defender atop the right circle and lifted a shot under the crossbar.

It was 4-1 just 27 seconds later as Smith's harmless backhander from the left circle deflected off Jackets defenseman Marc Methot's stick and the tip of Sanford's glove before dropping into the net.

The Jackets pulled within two at 8:32 on a Vermette backhander on the doorstep but got no closer.

Columbus went with an extra attacker inside the final two minutes, and Stalberg capped his trifecta with a solo effort to the empty net seconds after.

"There were some good things and some things we have to work on. Our defensive zone, around the net, we gave up some easy goals there," said Richards. "It's been a tough couple days but we hung in there. We're heading home and after a day of rest and practice tomorrow will do us good for the weekend."

Bolland's short-handed tally at 4:12 of the second period gave the 'Hawks a 1-0 edge, but Umberger countered near the eight-minute mark.

Stalberg one-timed a perfect Patrick Kane feed through Sanford's pads with roughly 4 1/2 remaining in the second for a 2-1 Chicago edge.

Game Notes

Stalberg has posted seven of his 12 total goals this year in four games against Columbus...Richards, who replaced the fired Scott Arniel on Monday, lasted just two seasons with the Minnesota Wild from 2009-11, going 77-71-16 without a playoff appearance...Chicago defenseman Steve Montador racked up 19 minutes in penalties at the 13:45 mark of the first period for a fight with Columbus' Jared Boll. He was given an instigation minor for starting the bout while wearing a face shield, a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct, a major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct...Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers fought Boll early in the second period and received 17 PIM for his efforts.