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Blue Jackets Rally Back to Stun Blackhawks 5-4 in OT

The Columbus Blue Jackets took the ice for the final time of the 2015-2016 season, welcoming the Chicago Blackhawks to town.

It was a wild finish, as Columbus trailed by three after one period, but fought back relentlessly to score four unanswered goals, but Chicago’s star player made the difference, sending the game to overtime. Fortunately, the Blue Jackets took advantage in OT, winning 5-4.

The Blackhawks brought an army of fans with them, as Nationwide Arena was a sea of red and throughout the night various chants erupted of “Let’s Go Hawks.”

The Chicago faithful were not disappointed as top Hart Trophy candidate Patrick Kane slapped home his 45th goal of the season to make it 1-0, just nine seconds after the puck dropped.

Dennis Rasmussen and Artemi Panarin were credited with assists.

Kane led the NHL in scoring with 103 points coming into Saturday night. The next closest player had 88.

Panarin would strike next for the Blackhawks, scoring his 29th goal of the season at the 11:25 mark of the first period, assisted by Kane, bumping his season scoring total up to 105.

Less than three minutes later, Panarin scored again, unassisted to make it 3-0 Blackhawks.

The Blue Jackets regrouped and came out refreshed to start the second period, finally getting on the board at the 6:29 mark, as Scott Hartnell netted home his 22nd goal of the season to make it 3-1.

It was Hartnell’s 300th career goal.

Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Saad contributed with assists on the play.

The Blue Jackets kept fighting and Matt Calvert came through for Columbus with his 11th goal of the season 12:55 into the second period to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was unassisted.

Columbus kept the great period going, as Saad scored his 31st goal of the season to tie the game with three minutes remaining in the 2nd.

With the goal, Saad broke his career-high for points in a season, with 53 points.

Hartnell dished out his 25th assist of the season and Wennberg notched his second of the night.

Both teams headed to the dressing rooms tied at three heading into the final period.

The duo of Hartnell and Wennberg’s fantastic night continued early in the third frame, as Wennberg scored his eighth goal of the season at the 3:09 mark to give Columbus their first lead of the night, 4-3.

Hartnell was credited with an assist along with Ryan Murray.

Wennberg and Hartnell each scored one goal and each dished out two assists on the night up to that point.

Chicago finally answered back, as right on cue, Kane scored his 46th goal of the season to tie the game at 4 with 10:11 to play.

The goal was assisted by Markus Kruger and Brent Seabrook.

With the goal, Kane would finish the regular season with 106 points, which is tied for #169 on the all-time list of points scored in a season in NHL history.

Columbus found themselves in a precarious position with 2:18 remaining and two of their men in the penalty box, giving Chicago a 5-on-3 advantage.

Sergei Bobrovsky made a clutch save with 1:36 to play and the power play would be reduced to 5-on-4 for Chicago.

The Blue Jackets held firm, killing the penalty, and the game would head to overtime tied at four.

Columbus would go on the power play with 3:26 left in OT, and just a minute later, and Hartnell scored the game-winning goal to win 5-4.

The Blue Jackets’ season comes to an end with a record of 34-40-8 while Chicago (47-26-9) gets ready for the Playoffs with the third seed in the Western Conference.

Matt Medley is co-editor at NEO Sports Insiders, covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Indians and high school sports in Northeast Ohio. Follow @MedleyHoops on Twitter for live updates from games.

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