Kane big, Blackhawks aren't

SportsField HockeyColumbus Blue JacketsChicago BlackhawksSoccerSt. Louis BluesNikolai Khabibulin

The Blackhawks once again had a midweek meltdown.

All four of the Hawks' losses this season have come during the middle of the week, including arguably their worst performance of the season Oct. 17—a Wednesday night—to the St. Louis Blues.

"For us, we need to learn [from] what we did last week," coach Denis Savard said Tuesday morning before the Blackhawks' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center. "I warned our guys about it. It's a different week."

Different week, same result as the Blue Jackets defeated the Blackhawks 7-4 Tuesday night behind two goals each from Rick Nash and Jiri Novotny.

In the 3-1 loss to St. Louis the Hawks fell behind 2-0 early in the game and couldn't come back. Tuesday night the Blue Jackets took an early 2-0 lead on goals from Nash and Novotny in the third minute of the game.

Nash scored his sixth goal of the season when he tipped in a shot off a feed from Michael Peca to beat Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Novotny followed with a goal 22 seconds later when he sent a wrist shot from inside the right circle past Khabibulin for his second goal of the season.

The Hawks cut the Blue Jackets' lead to 2-1 as rookie Patrick Kane picked up loose puck, skated in on Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena and put in a shot from his forehand in close. For Kane, the Hawks' leading point scorer entering the game with nine, it was his second goal of the season.

Kane had two goals and two assists.

"I just got some bounces tonight and things kind of went my way," Kane said. "I'm still looking for that complete game. It's tough going down 2-0 and trying to come back all the time. We've already done it so much we can't do it every night so I think we're going to have to work on that.

"I'd like to have the puck a little bit more and be in control and set up some more plays. Every time I had that opportunity things kind of went my way so that's going to happen on some nights, and some nights I'm going to play better and not get any points. I think it's take what you can get and keep working hard and things will happen."

Novotny struck again 3:34 into the second period when he beat Khabibulin from in close to give Columbus a 3-1 lead.

Again, it was one of the Hawks' youngsters who got them back in the game as Jonathan Toews fired a wrist shot past Norrena from the right faceoff dot at the 6:47 mark of the second to cut the deficit to 3-2. The goal was assisted by Kane and James Wisniewski.

Kane then tied the game 3-3 with 1:50 remaining in the second when he banged home a goal from the slot for his third of the season, assisted by Tuomo Ruutu and Brent Seabrook.

The Blue Jackets regained the lead 1:28 later when Sergei Fedorov snapped a shot past Khabibulin with Kevyn Adams in the penalty box for a delay of game penalty.

Nash gave Columbus breathing room with 10:53 remaining in the third to take a 5-3 lead.Wisniewski's goal brought the Hawks to 6-4 after he took a pass from Kane and fired a wrist shot over Norrena's shoulder. The assist gave Kane a career-high four points.

"You can't come back down two goals all the time, and we've done it a couple of times already this year, with these good teams and divisional games," Wisniewski said. "We don't want to give up the two points because it's like a four-point game—you can't get those points back."

ckuc@tribune.com

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