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A huge loss puts damper on big win

Tribune staff reporter

The Blackhawks talked all week about being better-prepared for the start of games to avoid their recent trend of falling behind and not being able to rally for victories.

"With young players, sometimes how you prepare is going to hurt your game," coach Denis Savard said. "We went through that session the other day with each of our young players and even our veteran players on what we do on the road should be the same thing at home.

"[It's] how you prepare—your breakfast, your pregame prep, your lunch, your nap, that shouldn't change. Hockey players always have had routines and they shouldn't change."

Savard's message finally must have hit home as the Hawks snapped a three-game losing streak at the United Center with a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night.

The Hawks suffered a big loss when veteran center Kevyn Adams went down with a knee injury with 8 minutes 27 seconds left in the first period. Adams, the leader of the Hawks both on and off the ice, was checked into the boards and his left knee appeared to buckle.

"It looks like the ACL and MCL, and he will be out for quite a while," Savard said. "We lose a great leader, but it gives somebody a chance to get an opportunity. He has been awesome in the locker room."

After falling behind 2-1 early in the third period, the Hawks stormed back on goals by Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp (empty-netter).

Toews scored his sixth goal of the season to tie it 2-2 when he took a cross-ice pass from Tuomo Ruutu and fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot past Columbus goalie Fredrik Norrena with 12 minutes 44 seconds remaining.

The Hawks took a 3-2 lead 2:10 later when Seabrook got by Blue Jackets defender Jan Hejda and put a backhand shot past Norrena for his second goal of the season.

Keith scored his second goal of the season with 8:47 remaining to make it 4-2 off a nice pass from Dave Bolland. The rookie sent a pass along the goal line to Keith, who put it into the net.

The Hawks, who were 3-5 at home and 4-2 on the road entering Wednesday night, came out stronger than in recent home efforts, outshooting the Blue Jackets 15-4 in the first period. But they couldn't get one past Norrena.

They finally solved him with 11:31 remaining in the second period when James Wisniewski scored his fourth goal of the season after some nice passing by Robert Lang and Jason Williams.

"We talked about all year that if you have an opportunity to jump up into the play, you jump up," Wisniewski said. "Everything kicked in and a couple of us buried it."

"We've been struggling a little bit at home, and having a one-goal lead going into the third period and then giving it up, we showed a lot of character to come back and score four unanswered goals."

Hawks goalie Patrick Lalime wasn't tested much during the first two periods, with his best save on a one-time shot by Nikolai Zherdev at the 7:30 mark of the second.

The Blue Jackets tied it 1-1 on Rostislav Klesla's goal just 1:11 into the third.

The defenseman fired a wrist shot from just inside the blueline and past Lalime for his fourth of the season.

Columbus took a 2-1 lead 1:15 later when Zherdev tipped in Michael Peca's shot.

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