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Vermette leads Blue Jackets past Blackhawks

Mar 14, 2009 - 5:08 AM
CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Antoine Vermette is fitting in perfectly with the Blue Jackets.

Vermette scored two goals to help Columbus beat Chicago, 5-3, on Friday night for its fourth straight victory since he joined the team in a trade with Ottawa.

"I got to say since I got here, the guys have made it easy on me. Everyone is working hard and working the same way," Vermette said. "I couldn't ask for anything for better than that. Guys are playing pretty well with good structure.

"I've been lucky enough to never miss one playoff. Having a chance to join this group of guys and make a pretty good push, I'm pretty happy about it."

Vermette has three goals and three assists since the March 4 trade.

"He's been a big help," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's just part of the team now."

Backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz made 27 saves and Kristian Huselius, Raffi Torres and Rick Nash added goals. Columbus is sixth in the Western Conference - four points ahead of Edmonton and Dallas - in its bid to make the playoffs for the first time.

Dubielewicz got the call after Steve Mason made 38 saves and stopped all three Pittsburgh shooters in Columbus' 4-3 shootout win Thursday night.

"We needed him, and he stepped up," Hitchcock said. "That's what happens when you're part of the team."

Dubielewicz made his third appearance with the Blue Jackets after they claimed him off waivers in January. His last win in the NHL was on April 4, 2008 with the New York Islanders.

"For me personally, it was a big thing for Hitch believing I could come in and play down the stretch here," Dubielewicz said. "It was a great thrill, especially when you've got a guy like Mase, who plays 90-95 percent of the games."

Brent Seabrook, Kris Versteeg and Patrick Kane scored for Chicago, which has lost three of its last four and is 3-5-1 in its last nine.

The Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead in the first period by capitalizing on Chicago defensive-coverage breakdowns.

"We had a good finish, but to be successful in this league you have to have a good start," Seabrook said. "Any time you give up two goals early and don't respond in the first period, it's pretty tough to come back in this league."

Chicago's Cristobal Huet made 17 saves in his 12th start in Chicago's last 14 games. He normally alternates with Nikolai Khabibulin, who hasn't played since aggravating a groin injury February 11.

Khabibulin, activated from injured reserve Wednesday, backed up Huet and might start the Blackhawks' next game, at home Sunday against the New York Islanders.

The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets will play each other three more times in the regular season. The two teams could meet in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks, fourth in the Western Conference, appear headed to the postseason after missing it for five straight seasons and nine of the last 10.

Vermette opened the scoring just 45 seconds in. After Huet made saves on Jan Hejda and R.J. Umberger, Vermette popped in a loose rebound from just outside the crease.

Huselius made it 2-0 with his 20th goal midway through the period. He slipped in alone on right wing after taking a pass from Jakub Voracek, deked Huet to the ice and scored on a backhand shot.

The Blackhawks came back to tie it on goals by Seabrook and Versteeg 1:40 apart early in the second.

Seabrook cut it to 2-1 on a low, screened drive from the right point 1:42 into the second and two seconds after a Chicago power play elapsed. Versteeg tied it at 3:22 with a power-play deflection of Duncan Keith's shot from the left point.

Vermette's second goal, on a power play with 2:16 left in the second, restored Columbus' lead at 3-2.

Fedor Tyutin's shot from the left circle hit traffic in front of the goal and deflected to Vermette, who was alone at the right edge of the crease.

Torres made it 4-2 at 3:50 of the third by driving to the net and knocking in a rebound of Michael Peca's shot from the right corner.

Kane's power-play goal with 5:57 left in the third cut it to 4-3.

The Blackhawks pressured in the final 1:01 with a power play and with Huet on the bench for an extra attacker. Nash, however, scored shorthanded into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 2 1 2 5
    CHICAGO 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COB - ANTOINE VERMETTE 11 (R.J. UMBERGER, JAN HEJDA) 0:45
    COB - KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 20 (JAKUB VORACEK, MICHAEL PECA)
    11:02
    2ND PRD: CHI - BRENT SEABROOK 6 (DUNCAN KEITH, KRIS VERSTEEG) 1:42
    CHI - (PP) KRIS VERSTEEG 19

    Mar 13 11:06 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 5
    CHICAGO 3
    3RD PRD: COB - (EN) RICK NASH 33 (UNASSISTED) 19:41

    Blue Jackets 5, Blackhawks 3  3rd - 0:19Mar 13 11:05 PM
  • 31
    roots
    RUWTbot Took away 66 roots

    Blue Jackets 5, Blackhawks 3  3rd - 0:19Mar 13 11:05 PM
  • 97
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 21 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 3  3rd - 2:30Mar 13 10:59 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 4
    CHICAGO 3
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) PATRICK KANE 22 (CAM BARKER) 14:03

    Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 3  3rd - 5:57Mar 13 10:56 PM
  • 76
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 45 roots (Close Finish)

    Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 3  3rd - 5:57Mar 13 10:56 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 4
    CHICAGO 2
    3RD PRD: COB - RAFFI TORRES 8 (MICHAEL PECA, JAKUB VORACEK) 3:50

    Blue Jackets 4, Blackhawks 2  3rd - 16:10Mar 13 10:41 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 2 1 3
    CHICAGO 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COB - ANTOINE VERMETTE 11 (R.J. UMBERGER, JAN HEJDA) 0:45
    COB - KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 20 (JAKUB VORACEK, MICHAEL PECA)
    11:02
    2ND PRD: CHI - BRENT SEABROOK 6 (DUNCAN KEITH, KRIS VERSTEEG) 1:42
    CHI - (PP) KRIS

    Mar 13 10:15 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 3
    CHICAGO 2
    2ND PRD: COB - (PP) ANTOINE VERMETTE 12 (FEDOR TYUTIN, JAKUB VORACEK)
    17:44

    Blue Jackets 3, Blackhawks 2  2nd - 2:16Mar 13 10:12 PM
  • 31
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 31 roots

    Blue Jackets 2, Blackhawks 2  2nd - 8:55Mar 13 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    CHICAGO 2
    2ND PRD: CHI - (PP) KRIS VERSTEEG 19 (DUNCAN KEITH, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:23

    Blue Jackets 2, Blackhawks 2  2nd - 16:37Mar 13 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    CHICAGO 1
    2ND PRD: CHI - BRENT SEABROOK 6 (DUNCAN KEITH, KRIS VERSTEEG) 1:42

    Blue Jackets 2, Blackhawks 1  2nd - 18:18Mar 13 9:40 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COLUMBUS 2 2
    CHICAGO 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: COB - ANTOINE VERMETTE 11 (R.J. UMBERGER, JAN HEJDA) 0:45
    COB - KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 20 (JAKUB VORACEK, MICHAEL PECA)
    11:02
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    COB 6

    Mar 13 9:17 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 2
    CHICAGO 0
    1ST PRD: COB - KRISTIAN HUSELIUS 20 (JAKUB VORACEK, MICHAEL PECA)
    11:02

    Blue Jackets 2, Blackhawks 0  1st - 8:58Mar 13 9:01 PM


  • NHL
    COLUMBUS 1
    CHICAGO 0
    1ST PRD: COB - ANTOINE VERMETTE 11 (R.J. UMBERGER, JAN HEJDA) 0:45

    Blue Jackets 1, Blackhawks 0  1st - 19:15Mar 13 8:43 PM