Which player said the following: “The fact we had a bad game in the first of back-to-back games kind of set this up as a big one. We wanted to come up with a strong effort.”
If you guessed Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Duncan Keith, you’d be wrong. It was Antoine Vermette.
Facing the same potential fate on Saturday evening – a loss would bring either team to 0-2 for the weekend – the Columbus Blue Jackets put a stamp on Saturday night’s tilt during the third period while the Blackhawks floated around their own zone like goldfish in a fish bowl.
It all started late in the second with the Hawks protecting what seemed to be a sturdy two-goal lead. In the last minute of the frame, the game changed.
Jacob Voracek outmuscled Keith going outside to the Hawks’ net, and tossed the puck on goal using only his outside hand. The puck bounced off of Corey Crawford, and Nick Boynton flipped the loose puck right to the slot where Derek Brassard waited. Brassard pushed the puck past Crawford to cut the lead in half.
Then, with 29 seconds left in the period, Troy Brouwer took a boarding penalty, and the ensuing five-minute Blue Jacket power play changed the game for good.
With 4:30 left of power play time entering the third, the Blue Jackets went to work, putting 20 shots on net during the frame and scoring both the tying and go-ahead goals.
Meantime, the Hawks ran around in their own zone and only mustered some pressure and shots – they had eight to the Jackets’ 20 – as the clock wound down.