CHICAGO — Jonathan Toews scored 46 seconds into overtime, Robin Lehner made 37 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Friday night.
Toews drove to the net and knocked a rebound of Patrick Kane’s shot from the right circle past Elvis Merzlikins to give Chicago (2-2-1) its second straight win. It was Toews’ first goal of the season.
Alex DeBrincat tied it at 2 with a power-play goal midway through the third period. Drake Caggiula also scored for Chicago, and Kane finished with two assists.
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his third goal in four games and Markus Nutivaara connected early in the third for the Blue Jackets. Columbus (3-3-1) outskated Chicago for much of the night and outshot the Blackhawks 39-33.
Merzlikins blocked 30 shots in his second NHL start. The 25-year-old Latvian was tagged for seven goals on 40 shots by Pittsburgh in his debut on Oct. 5.
The Blackhawks led 1-0 after the first period on Caggiula’s first goal of the season, despite being outplayed for much of the frame.
The Blue Jackets dominated early and Lehner came up with several tough saves to keep it scoreless. He stopped Riley Nash and Alexander Wennberg from close range in the opening minutes.
Columbus was outshooting Chicago 12-4 when Caggiula connected with 4:25 left in the period from the top of the left circle. Caggiula faked a pass, then fired a shot that deflected off defenceman Ryan Murray’s stick, sailed over Merzlikins’ glove and clanked in off the intersection of the crossbar and right post.
The Blackhawks failed to score during a 5-on-3 power play during the final 1:06 of the first.
Dubois tied it 5:33 into the second when he battled past Chicago defenceman Connor Murphy and cut in alone. After drawing Lehner out of the net and down to the ice, Dubois fired into the upper right corner of the net.
Nutivaara put Columbus ahead 2-1 at 2:55 of the third. Lehner got a glove on Nutivaara’s first shot from right wing, but couldn’t control the rebound. Nutivaara skated to the net and pitched the rebound past Lehner’s left shoulder for this second goal.
DeBrincat tied it during a power play at 8:08. He fired in a one-timer from the left circle off Kane’s cross-ice feed.
Tennis great Billie Jean King participated in a fire-the-puck contest between the second and third period and scored a goal. … Columbus F Josh Anderson missed his fifth game with an upper-body injury. … Merzlikins is the fourth Latvian goalie in NHL history and played the past six seasons for HC Lugano of the Swiss national league. … Former Blackhawks C Dave Bolland, who played on Chicago’s 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cup teams, was honoured in a “One More Shift” pregame ceremony. Bolland scored the winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals at Boston that gave Chicago the championship.
Blue Jackets: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday.
Blackhawks: Host Washington on Sunday.
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Matt Carlson, The Associated Press