Going out with more of a bang than a whimper.
Emil Bemstrom scored a power-play goal, Gus Nyquist scored twice while short-handed, and Kirill Marchenko scored an even-strength goal to help the Columbus Blue Jackets end a seven-game losing streak and beat the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1, on Saturday at Nationwide Arena.
Johnny Gaudreau had two assists, and Adam Boqvist, Jack Roslovic, Gavin Bayreuther, and Sean Kuraly had assists. Nyquist is on a four-game point streak (one goal, three assists). Roslovic is also on a four-game point streak (five assists).
Andreas Athanasiou scored for the Blackhawks. Isaak Phillips had an assist for the first point of his NHL career.
Joonas Korpisalo made 26 saves on 27 shots. Alex Stalock stopped 34 of 37 shots.
After playing in all 82 games last season, Andrew Peeke was a healthy scratch on Saturday. Elvis Merzlikins backed up Korpisalo as Daniil Tarasov is day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered in Friday's practice.
Shaking Things Up
There were lineup changes on Thursday against the New York Islanders in an attempt to stop the losing streak. Coming up short in a 2-1 loss, head coach Brad Larsen went to the well again, putting Johnny Gaudreau back with Kent Johnson and Kirill Marchenko on the first line.
After both Roslovic and Bemstrom played with Gaudreau on the top line on Thursday, they were back on the second line with Nyquist.
It looks like it might have worked. In the first period at 18:40 on the power play, Bemstrom scored and Gaudreau and Boqvist picked up the assists.
Looking to get hot, Bemstrom has goals in consecutive games. Boqvist's assist is his first point this season.
Nyquist's short-handed goal at 3:50 of the second period gave Columbus their first lead of the game, and only the second lead during the losing streak, when they led at the Philadelphia Flyers before losing, 5-3, on Dec. 20. That lead lasted 83 seconds. His second goal of the game, an empty netter also while short-handed, sealed the 4-1 win.
Nyquist never scored a short-handed goal until he got to Columbus. Had four last year and has six in his #CBJ career. Cam Atkinson has 16 which leads the franchise. With six, Nyquist is in a tie for fourth on the franchise list with Matty Calvert. #CBJ— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) December 31, 2022
Gustav Nyquist scored two short-handed goals today. It was the first time in #CBJ history that a player scored two SHG in a game.— Coby Maeir (@CobyMaeir) December 31, 2022
The Blue Jackets were able to completely flip the script from the last meeting between these two eight days ago on Dec. 23—more on that—taking the win and dominating the statistical battle. Per Natural Stat Trick, the Blue Jackets had the edge in expected goals: 2.02-1.2, out-chancing Chicago 11-0 in the second period, and 25-9 for the game. Columbus outshot Chicago 38-26. The last time the Blue Jackets outshot their opponent was in a 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The penalty kill stayed perfect going five-for-five and scoring twice. Columbus' power play was 1-for-3.
Gaudreau was denied his 11th goal of the season on a highlight save by Stalock in the first period.
Johnny Gaudreau had two assists in his 2022 finale to finish one shy of the most by a U.S.-born player in a calendar year (81; behind 82 by Craig Janney in 1992).— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) December 31, 2022
His 119 points stand as the third-most in one year by a -born player.#NHLStats: https://t.co/NrHzt7C93B pic.twitter.com/1hXvPReB0a
Kirill Marchenko Is Good
Marchenko's goal with three seconds left in the second period gave him his fifth goal and the Blue Jackets a 3-1 lead.
He truly looks like he belongs as he has five goals in 12 games and in three of the last four games. Marchenko played 13:41 with the goal, two shots, a hit, and a takeaway.
Bedard Bowl No. 2
Both the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets came into play with a combined record of 18-44-6.
In the first meeting between both clubs in Chicago on Dec. 23, the Blackhawks did not resemble a team that entered play losers of 16 in 17 games. After a 4-0 lead, they held on to beat the Blue Jackets, 5-2.
Entering Saturday's action, Chicago came in last in the NHL standings, and only two points behind the Blue Jackets.
Athanasiou has eight goals this season and two goals against Columbus in eight days. His prior points came on Nov. 23 against the Dallas Stars.
Former Blue Jackets Max Domi and Seth Jones were honored in their first return to Nationwide Arena. Jones missed last year's return after a positive COVID test kept him out of the lineup.
The Blue Jackets will travel to Canada to take on the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, Jan. 2 at 7:00 pm ET. The Senators are at the Detroit Red Wings later tonight.