Chicago win thriller against Columbus

Ben Smith scores a dramatic late winner for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL.

    Reigning Stanley Cup champions the Blackhawks had already locked up their sixth straight playoff place [AFP]
    Reigning Stanley Cup champions the Blackhawks had already locked up their sixth straight playoff place [AFP]

    Ben Smith tapped in a rebound with 3.7 seconds left on a wild scrum to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL.

    Derek MacKenzie, Ryan Johansen and Artem Anisimov scored for Columbus, in the middle of a fight for the playoffs and in dire need of points.

    The reigning Stanley Cup champions had already locked up their sixth straight playoff appearance while the Blue Jackets had a lot riding on the outcome.

    Columbus, with 85 points to start the night, held a tenuous grasp of the second wild-card spot in the East, a point behind Detroit which held the first wild card.

    Midway through the third with the game tied at 3, Raanta made the stop of the game after Matt Calvert intercepted a pass and zoomed in all alone.

    Raanta deflected his shot and the game remained tied.

    Bobrovsky then stopped a blast by Bryan Bickell and smothered Morin's shot from his knees in the slot with less than 5 minutes remaining.

    Then came the wild finish after both teams had seemed content to get to overtime with a point.

    With time running out, Duncan Keith threw the puck on net and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky blocked it with his arm but it popped out of his reach.

    While he and two teammates scrambled to get to the loose puck, Smith got a stick on it and pushed it into the net.

    Jeremy Morin, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa also had goals for Chicago, and Keith had three assists.

    Ducks shot down

    At Anaheim, Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, Colin Wilson also scored twice and the Nashville Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2.

    Patric Hornqvist also scored and had two assists and Matt Cullen added two assists as Nashville ended a six-game losing streak to the Ducks and preserved its playoff chances with five games to play.

    Hornqvist has 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in his last 10 games.

    Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for the Predators, who led 4-1 in the first period.

    Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik scored for Anaheim.

    Elsewhere, the Montreal Canadiens rallied for a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators, the Detroit Red Wings held off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 and the Calgary Flames beat the Florida Panthers 2-1.



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