COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Blue Jackets had to come from behind twice Saturday night to stay in the thick of the Eastern Conference wild-card race.
Josh Anderson scored in the third period and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 31 shots to lift the up-and-down Blue Jackets to a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks in front of a sellout crowd at Nationwide Arena.
Pierre-Luc Dubois had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, who had lost four of five. Cam Atkinson also scored.
“We’re a resilient group,” Atkinson said. “We’ve got to keep fighting because these points and these wins and these games are so crucial for us.”
David Kampf and Tomas Jurco scored for the last-place Hawks in the second leg of a back-to-back. Rookie Anton Forsberg had 26 saves against his former team.
The Hawks had won two in a row and three of four.
The Hawks jumped in front when Kampf redirected a shot from Ryan Hartman for his third goal 1:28 into the game. But Columbus tied with 2:08 left in the period when Atkinson sent a power-play shot from the top of the right circle over the shoulder of Forsberg, who was screened by Columbus’ Alexander Wennberg.
The teams exchanged goals again in the second. The Hawks probably should have had more, with Vinnie Hinostroza hitting the post twice and the team failing to capitalize on a pair of power plays.
Jurco got his first goal of the season at 9:20 with a wrist shot from the slot.
“We were sitting in a good spot, 2-1 there in the second,” Hawks forward Patrick Kane said. “Those are the games you have to find ways to least get points. It’s been kind of a season where we’ve struggled to do that.”
Columbus tied it again at 14:30 when former Hawks forward Artemi Panarin picked off a pass in the neutral zone and carried it all the way back, delivering a perfect cross-ice pass for Dubois to shovel in.
“As soon as he got it I knew it was coming to me, so I was ready,” Dubois said. “It was a really nice pass, and it was pretty easy for me.”
Anderson got the game-winner 11:14 into the third when he carried the puck down the left side, pulled up in the circle and slammed it past Forsberg.
Bobrovsky shut down the Hawks from there.
“You can sit there and say we played good, we had chances, whatever, but once again we just didn’t get the job done,” Kane said.
Columbus coach John Tortorella said the come-from-behind victory was a boost for a team that has struggled to find traction all season.
“It’s a confidence thing with our team,” he said. “We’re just trying to find a way to string something together.”
Hawks forward Brandon Saad played his first game in Nationwide Arena since being traded for Panarin. ... Panarin extended his point streak to four games. ... Columbus forward Oliver Bjorkstrand played in his 100th career NHL game. ... Panarin’s assist on Dubois’ goal was his team-leading 33rd of the season. ... Referee Garrett Rank bloodied the ice when he left in the third after the Hawks’ Jan Rutta caught him in the face with a stick. He returned later in the period. ... Four of the Blue Jackets’ past five games have been decided by a single goal.
Blackhawks: Visit San Jose on Friday.
Blue Jackets: Host Washington on Monday.