Brent Seabrook has become a regular showstopper.
For the third time this season Seabrook ended a game in dramatic fashion Tuesday night at the United Center, scoring in the 11th round of the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Seabrook also scored overtime winners Oct. 12 against Calgary and Nov. 15 against San Jose.
"He's a big-time player," teammate Kris Versteeg said.
The Hawks stayed alive through 11 rounds of the shootout, a club record, thanks to goalie Cristobal Huet.
Huet made eight straight saves, giving the Hawks nine opportunities to win the game.
"Huey was big in that shootout," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who won't soon forget his 500th career victory.
After going with 10 forwards in the shootout and only Marian Hossa scoring, Quenneville turned to Seabrook as his first choice from the defense.
"The defense was calling for him," Quenneville said. "He had a lot of support from that end (of the bench) to be next.
"He's our weapon in the shootout now."
Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason was matching Huet shot-for-shot in the shootout when Seabrook beat him with a backhander after a slick deke in tight.
"That was my first shootout and I was pretty nervous," Seabrook said. "I know forwards do it all the time, but for a d-man you get out there at center ice and you're looking up, it's definitely a different feeling."
Seabrook never expects a shootout to get deep enough for the defensemen to get off the bench, although the Hawks have gone nine and eight rounds this season.
"It never gets to the defense," Seabrook joked. "Us d-men are always yelling back there that it would be nice to try a d-man every once in a while."
The victory made Huet 11-3-1 in his last 15 starts.
"I don't know what to say," Huet said of his shootout performance. "You've got to be a little lucky and I was very happy to see Seabs score."
It was a big Central Division win for the Hawks, their eighth victory at home, as it extended their first-place lead over Nashville and Columbus to 6 points.
It was a battle from start to finish with the Hawks twice overcoming 1-goal deficits with power-play goals from Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith.
"It was a great win," Quenneville said. "We always find this a dangerous game, the first game back after a long trip. I thought we fought through it all game long and did some good things."
In addition to his shootout goal, Hossa assisted on both power-play goals in his home debut.
Versteeg opened the scoring late in the first period with a highlight-reel goal shorthanded that featured toe drags around two Blue Jackets.
"Obviously it takes luck, and I guess I got a little lucky there," Versteeg said. "I wouldn't say that's the best goal, but it was a memorable one."
Tim Sassone's game tracker
Blackhawks 4, Blue Jackets 3
Three stars: 1. Cristobal Huet, Hawks: In a difference-making performance, he stopped 10 of 11 shooters in the shootout including the last eight in a row.
2. Brent Seabrook, Hawks: Yeah, he was minus-2, but his goal ended the shootout in the 11th round and he had 5 hits and 5 blocked shots.
3. Marian Hossa, Hawks: Scored a goal in the shootout and had 2 assists in his home debut.
Key stat: The Hawks' special teams came up big. They scored 2 power-play goals and killed all three Columbus power plays.
It's funny now: Nobody was happier to see Brent Seabrook end the game than Andrew Ladd, who lost control of the puck on his shootout try in the sixth round and watched it slide nearly into the corner.