Columbus Blue Jackets\' Kris Russell, left, and Chicago Blackhawks\' Bryan Bickell chase a loose puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
COLUMBUS, Ohio - It looked like a bleak start to a six-game, 12-day road trip for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Down 3-2 early in the second period after the Columbus Blue Jackets scored twice in a span of 42 seconds, coach Joel Quenneville called a timeout—and the game swung dramatically the other way.
Jonathan Toews had a short-handed goal and two assists as the Blackhawks ran off four consecutive goals en route to a 7-4 win over the Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
"You don't expect to score four straight," Toews said. "You don't want to have to. But it always seems that we respond to those timeouts."
Quenneville said the huddle was necessary to get his team focused and to steal some of the Blue Jackets' fire.
"They scored two quick goals there and we lose all the momentum," he said. "Our last couple of second periods haven't been very good.
"We seem to lose the game at that stage. We got back in it and Johnny obviously scored a huge goal at the end of the period to extend it a little bit."
In a game of soft goals and shoddy defence, the Blackhawks flaunted their ability to score goals in bunches.
Patrick Kane added a goal and an assist, while Nick Leddy, Duncan Keith, Viktor Stalberg, Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa also scored for Chicago. The team begins a run of playing 20 of its last 32 regular-season games on the road.
Fernando Pisani and Brent Seabrook each had two assists as both teams returned to action for the first time after the all-star break. Marty Turco looked shaky at times, but made 29 saves.
"It was a tough start tonight. Everybody on both sides was trying to find their bearings again," said Seabrook, who was flipped upside down by R.J. Umberger by a highlight-reel check in the third period. "We came out hard and had a good second part of the second period and a great third.
"It was good to see Marty shut the door and really give us the opportunity to win."
The loss could prove memorable for a Columbus team which can't afford many more slips if it wants to get in the playoff chase. The Blue Jackets started the night in the crowded Western Conference tied for 13th but just five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.
"That was an ugly game for sure," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said. "I'm sure Joel would say the same on his side.
"There were lots of chances and it was pretty sloppy."
Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard, Samuel Pahlsson and Matt Calvert had the Blue Jackets goals.
After Columbus scored the quick, back-to-back goals—Brassard on a slick assist from Rick Nash and Pahlsson on a shot from the right side through traffic—the Blackhawks took control.
An instant after killing Stalberg's roughing penalty, they tied it when Stalberg joined a rush and benefited from Pisani's pass.
Then Kane crashed the net just as Toews stole the puck from Columbus's Chris Clark on the back boards, Toews sliding a centring pass that Kane converted for the go-ahead goal.
The backbreaker came with 40 seconds left in the second when Toews won a battle for the puck near the blue-line with Columbus defenceman Fedor Tyutin and then skated past another defenceman, Grant Clitsome, who had overcommitted, before beating goaltender Steve Mason to make it 5-3.
"The defenceman (Tyutin) tried to tie up my stick," Toews said. "I just kicked it up and the other guy (Clitsome) kind of got sucked in.
"Next thing you know I was around him. I had a pretty good chance before that on a 2-on-1 with (Boland). I had to make it work the second time."
The teams were sent to the dressing rooms early, with 39.6 seconds left in the first, after the lights in Nationwide Arena dimmed for several minutes. After the intermission, the remainder of the first period was played, with the teams then switching ends and playing the second period.
NOTES: Columbus D Marc Methot played in his 200th career NHL game. ... The Blackhawks are 32-22-7 all-time against the Blue Jackets. ... Nash's assist stretched his points streak to nine games. ... Due to the stormy weather, the Blackhawks decided to stay the night in Columbus.