COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Blackhawks have vowed not to go down without a fight in the playoff race.
They proved that again Friday night when they jumped to a three-goal lead in the first period and went on to record a 6-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, snapping a four-game losing streak before a crowd of 15,699 at Nationwide Arena.
The victory lifted the Hawks, who received help Thursday night when key teams ahead of them lost, into 11th place in the Western Conference. They're five points out of the eighth and final postseason spot with 10 games left.
"It's a start," said Andrew Ladd, who scored the Hawks' final goal. "We're back on the right track. We talked about coming out with lots of energy and getting on the body and putting lots of pressure all over the ice. In the first period we did that, and it showed with the score."
Cam Barker's goal off a slap shot from just inside the blue line one minute into the game set the tone, and fellow defenseman Duncan Keith and rookie center Dave Bolland followed with scores to make it 3-0 with just less than seven minutes remaining in the first period. It ended the night of Blue Jackets starting goaltender Pascal Leclaire, who stopped just three of six shots.
"We played a solid game," Barker said. "We played physical, and we had a good start. Those are the things we need to do."
Columbus' Fredrik Modin and Dan Fritsche scored 27 seconds apart early in the second against Patrick Lalime to cut the Hawks' lead to 3-2. But rookie Patrick Kane scored from in close against Fredrik Norrena to regain a two-goal lead.
Rick Nash's early-third-period goal again threatened the lead, but Dustin Byfuglien tipped in a Ladd shot at 10 minutes 20 seconds of the third period. The Hawks ended the scoring off a nifty passing play from Brent Seabrook to Patrick Sharp to Ladd, who beat Norrena to put the game away.
"We came out with a great start on the road and just carried on," said Lalime, who earned his 15th victory of the season with 29 saves. "In the second period we had a little letdown, but we really turned it around again in the third and never gave them a chance. Every time they got a little momentum, we came back and scored a big goal."
The Hawks return to the United Center on Sunday to face another Western Conference opponent, the Calgary Flames.
"We had to take this one home and have a little momentum," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "There are 20 points sitting there. We'll need help, but if we win our games we're going to take this to the wire."
One-timersVeteran center Yanic Perreault was a late scratch with the flu. Kevyn Adams replaced him. … Defenseman Brent Sopel, who has missed 12 games with a broken hand, said "it's getting better" and he might play Sunday. ... Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin also could return Sunday. Khabibulin has missed 12 games with a back problem. … Winger Jason Williams left Friday night's game in the third period with dizziness.