Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks stops a shot as Andrew Murray of the Columbus Blue Jackets falls to the ice at the United Center in Chicago Illinois. The Blue Jackets defeated the Blackhawks 4-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Blackhawks Defeat Blue Jackets In Shootout

For more on the Blackhawks, please visit Second City Hockey.

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Viktor Stalberg's Shootout Goal Gives Blackhawks Big 4-3 Win

Viktor Stalberg scored the only goal of the shootout after the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets played to a 3-3 draw through overtime in Columbus, giving the Blackhawks a 4-3 win and keeping them in eighth place in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks’ 92 points now leads the Flames and Stars by five. Calgary, at this writing, trails St. Louis in the second period and if they lose, they’ll have only three games remaining and will be virtually eliminated from playoff contention. With 92 points, the Hawks pull to within one point of the idle Ducks in seventh place and within two points of the Predators and Kings. But the Blackhawks have a tough remaining schedule with all but one game against playoff teams, and they barely beat a noncontender tonight.

Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Columbus came back with three unanswered goals before Bryan Bickell tied it up with 5:03 left in regulation. Corey Crawford made 31 saves for the Blackhawks, who will play the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday night.

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Chicago Blackhawks Vs. Columbus Blue Jackets: Crunch Time

The Blackhawks have six regular season games remaining. So do their nearest pursuers for the last playoff spot, the Dallas Stars, who currently trail the Blackhawks by three points. The Calgary Flames are tied with the Stars with 87 points, but have played two more games, so their road to the playoffs is tougher.

Win all the remaining games and the No. 8 seed (at least) belongs to the Blackhawks. This sounds easy, but just when "easy" has been the way of the Hawks this season, things have turned difficult. Of the six remaining games, only tonight in Columbus and the game vs. the Blues on April 6 are against teams out of playoff contention. The others -- against the Canadiens, Lightning and two against the arch-rival Red Wings -- will make this a tough road for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The Hawks are 3-2 against Columbus so far this season; the last time the teams met, at the United Center on Feb. 18, the Blue Jackets won 4-3. The Hawks cannot afford to lose this game.

It starts at 6 p.m. CDT and you can watch on CSN Chicago.

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