Vermette scored two goals to help Columbus beat Chicago 5-3 on Friday night for its fourth straight victory since he joined the team in a trade with Ottawa.
"I got to say since I got here, the guys have made it easy on me. Everyone is working hard and working the same way," Vermette said. "I couldn't ask for anything better than that. Guys are playing pretty well with good structure.
"I've been lucky enough to never miss one playoff. Having a chance to join this group of guys and make a pretty good push, I'm pretty happy about it."
Vermette has three goals and three assists since the March 4 trade.
"He's been a big help," Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. "He's just part of the team now."
Backup goalie Wade Dubielewicz made 27 saves, and Kristian Huselius, Raffi Torres and Rick Nash added goals. Columbus is sixth in the Western Conference -- four points ahead of Edmonton and Dallas -- in its bid to make the playoffs for the first time.
Dubielewicz got the call after Steve Mason made 38 saves and stopped all three Pittsburgh shooters in Columbus' 4-3 shootout win Thursday.
"We needed him and he stepped up," Hitchcock said. "That's what happens when you're part of the team."
Dubielewicz made his third appearance with the Blue Jackets after they claimed him on waivers in January. His last win in the NHL was on April 4, 2008, with the New York Islanders.
"For me personally, it was a big thing for Hitch believing I could come in and play down the stretch here," Dubielewicz said. "It was a great thrill, especially when you've got a guy like Mase, who plays 90-95 percent of the games."
The Blue Jackets took a 2-0 lead in the first period by capitalizing on Chicago defensive coverage breakdowns.
"We had a good finish, but to be successful in this league you have to have a good start," Seabrook said. "Any time you give up two goals early and don't respond in the first period, it's pretty tough to come back in this league."
Khabibulin, activated from injured reserve Wednesday, backed up Huet, and might start the Blackhawks' next game, at home Sunday against the New York Islanders.
The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets will play each other three more times in the regular season. The two teams could meet in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Blackhawks, fourth in the Western Conference, appear headed to the postseason after missing it for five straight seasons and nine of the last 10.
Huselius made it 2-0 with his 20th goal midway through the period. He slipped in alone on right wing after taking a pass from Jakub Voracek, deked Huet to the ice and scored on a backhand shot.
The Blackhawks came back to tie it on goals by Seabrook and Versteeg 1:40 apart early in the second.
Seabrook cut it to 2-1 on a low, screened drive from the right point 1:42 into the second and two seconds after a Chicago power play elapsed. Versteeg tied it at 3:22 with a power-play deflection of Duncan Keith's shot from the left point.
Vermette's second goal, on a power play with 2:16 left in the second, restored Columbus' lead at 3-2.
Fedor Tyutin's shot from the left circle hit traffic in front of the goal and deflected to Vermette, who was alone at the right edge of the crease.
Torres made it 4-2 at 3:50 of the third by driving to the net and knocking in a rebound of Michael Peca's shot from the right corner.
Kane's power-play goal with 5:57 left in the third cut it to 4-3.
The Blackhawks pressured in the final 1:01 with a power play and with Huet on the bench for an extra attacker. Nash, however, scored short-handed into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining.
|Antoine Vermette has three goals to go with three assists since he arrived in Columbus. (AP)|
|Columbus (36-27-6) «||2||1||2||5|
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|45.0||Antoine Vermette (11), Backhand Shot. Assist: Umberger, Hejda|
|11:02||Kristian Huselius (20), Backhand Shot. Assist: Voracek, Peca|
|01:42||Brent Seabrook (6), Slap Shot. Assist: Keith, Versteeg|
|03:22||Power Play - Kris Versteeg (19), Tip-In. Assist: Keith, Seabrook|
|17:44||Power Play - Antoine Vermette (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Umberger, Tyutin|
|03:50||Raffi Torres (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Peca, Voracek|
|14:03||Power Play - Patrick Kane (22), Backhand Shot. Assist: Toews, Barker|
|19:41||Short - Rick Nash (33), Empty Net, Unassisted.|
|08:26||Commodore, 2 min, Holding|
|11:55||Huselius, 2 min, High-Sticking|
|19:40||Klesla, 2 min, Cross-Checking|
|03:01||Hejda, 2 min, Interference|
|09:52||Bolland, 2 min, High-Sticking|
|13:55||Walker, 5 min, Fighting|
|13:55||Boll, 5 min, Fighting|
|13:55||Boll, 2 min, Elbowing|
|13:55||Walker, 2 min, Holding|
|16:20||Barker, 2 min, Interference|
|12:25||Commodore, 2 min, Hooking|
|18:59||Umberger, 2 min, Slashing|
|Shots On Goal|
|Power Play Conversions|
|Attendance - 22176|
|Referees - Dennis LaRue, Brad Watson|
|Linesmen - Darren Gibbs, Brian Mach|