Last second heroics lift the Hawks to a 4-3 win versus the Jacke - Fox 2 News Headlines

Last second heroics lift the Hawks to a 4-3 win versus the Jackets

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It has been a long time since the Blackhawks finished off a game with some last second heroics. Considering the exciting drama didn't involve a star forward this win could mean more than two points. In a hard fought struggle the Hawks edged Columbus 4-3.

The best line on the ice Friday night was the trio of Bryan Bickell, Peter Regin and Ben Smith. So it was fitting this group was a part of the winning goal that came with only four seconds remaining in the third period.

Regin got the puck back to the blueline and Duncan Keith sent a shot toward the net. There was a scramble with Regin in close to the goal as Smith whacked the puck and it slid under a sprawling Sergei Bobrovsky.

It was an exciting finish to a contest featuring some wide open play as well as a third period more slanted toward good defense. It wasn't a complete sixty minute performance by the Blackhawks but they did improve as the game went on and were the better team.

Jeremy Morin has been playing solid hockey and he was very good in Columbus. Morin has been making the simple plays and working hard. He was rewarded with a late first period tally which tied the score at one.

Antti Raanta got the start and like the rest of his teammates improved as the night went on. Raanta was victimized by deflections and his rebound control wasn't great. It shouldn't be forgotten this is on the job training for Raanta and it isn't easy to adjust to a backup role.

The Hawks lost the lead in the opening minute of the second frame. Afterwards they controlled much of the play as Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa put Chicago in front 3-2. Columbus was able to even the score and the game headed into the last frame knotted at three.

The Hawks stayed determined throughout the final period. This was an important game for Columbus as they are in battle for a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blackhawks kept the pressure on while playing good defense. Columbus was held to only six shots in the third frame while the Hawks recorded 12.

All in all a good effort considering the injuries. Some players like Keith and Brent Seabrook have been making mental and physical mistakes so fatigue could be an issue.

Michal Rozsival returned to action and was a +2, while logging 16:41 of ice time. Rozsival was also credited with an assist. Johnny Oduya was out with a lower body injury for the second straight game so getting Rozsival back was a bonus.

Andrew Shaw was held without a shot and did not register any points. Shaw was instrumental in the Morin and Sharp goals as he set two great screens. Shaw is one of a few Blackhawks that can set a good screen and it isn't easy to do. Shaw's effort didn't show up on the score sheet but he made a meaningful contribution.

It will be interesting to see how well the Hawks can close out the season without Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Joel Quenneville had to like what he saw last night from Bickell, Regin and Smith. Morin is playing his best hockey as a Blackhawk. So maybe some combination of those just mentioned can be cobbled together to form an effective third line.

A main reason the Hawks won their last two Stanley Cups was Quenneville could exploit matchup advantages because he could roll four lines. For much of this season all lines were not clicking at the same time. In many games the third line has been a disappointment. Quenneville is still searching for the right mix and now may have more options.

The Blackhawks have beaten the Blue Jackets 13 straight times. Their success rate is much different with Sunday's opponent, the St. Louis Blues.

Although the Hawks shutout the Blues 4-0 in their last meeting, St. Louis holds an edge in the season series. No matter what the standings say the Blues usually play the Blackhawks tough.

The United Center crowd should be pumped up for the nationally televised matinee and Quenneville will be looking for some consistency. A third consecutive win could be useful as Colorado is currently one point ahead of the Hawks with two games in hand.

I will be back on Monday morning and you can following me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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