|- Photo Gallery|
|Post-Game Comments: Denis Savard|
|Opponents Video: J. Quenneville / J. Leopold|
The Blackhawks won their third straight behind the solid goaltending of Patrick Lalime plus perfect penalty killing to edge Colorado 2-1 before a packed crowd of 21,715 Sunday afternoon at the United Center.
Martin Havlat's 8th goal of the season three minutes into the 2nd period proved to be the game-winner as defenseman James Wisniewski assisted on both Chicago scores and was named the #1 star of the contest.
|Martin Havlat's second-period goal proved to be the game winner. (AP Photo/Jerry Lai)|
Lalime lost his bid for his team's 1st shutout of the season in the final 2 1/2 minutes of regulation as he turned away 21 of 22 Avalanche shots with the visitors suffering their third straight defeat.
Hawk penalty killers stymied all 7 Avalanche power plays, including one in the final two minutes of the 3rd period as Colorado pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in the closing 75 seconds.
Chicago coach Denis Savard started his 4th line of Martin Lapointe, Craig Adams and Adam Burish, which set a strong physical tone for the game much to the delight of the standing room crowd. The Hawks dished out 10 of their game's 15 hits in the opening period.
The Hawks began the scoring 36 seconds into the first power play of the game at 4:48 with John-Michael Liles off for hooking Havlat on a partial breakaway. Wisniewski blasted a 50-footer just inside the blue line which was tipped by Dustin Byfuglien for his 12th of the season.
The goal was originally awarded to Wisniewski but changed after Byfuglien said it went off his stick past goalie Jose Theodore.
It was the first power play goal for the Hawks in 14 attempts in the previous three games against Colorado.
The Avalanche got a two-man advantage on a power play at the end of the 1st period, but Lalime came up with big saves on Ryan Smyth, Tyler Arnason and T.J. Hensick.
At the start of the 2nd period, Lalime stopped Wojtek Wolski on a 20-foot drive and two minutes later Havlat scored what proved the be the winner. Cam Barker passed the puck to Wisniewski just inside the blue line and his shot was blocked but picked up by Havlat who whistled a 20-footer over Theodore's left shoulder.
Lalime again made key saves in the period, one in-close by Milan Hejduk and another on a 10-footer by Smyth.
In the final period, Jaroslav Hlinka ended Lalime's hope for a shutout at 17:35 when he tapped in a centering pass from Cody McLeod just outside the goal crease for his 7th goal.
The Hawks took the season series from the Avalanche 3-1.
Savard credited his penalty killers for winning the game.
"Our defense is making better decisions and we are jelling," Savard said. "We're doing what it takes to win."
Also, Savard praised Burish for making a key puck block at the blue line in the final seconds during the Colorado power play.
Duncan Keith led all skaters with 26+ minutes of ice time and the Hawks won 59% of their faceoffs.
Before the start of the game, the Blackhawks observed a moment of silence and the players wore NIU decals on their helmets in honor of the students who lost their lives this past week at Northern Illinois University.
The Hawks head to St. Louis Tuesday and then return to the United Center Wednesday to face the Wild (7:30 pm) in their 14th set of back-to-back games this season.
AP Notes: The Blackhawks returned to the United Center after going 3-2-2 on a seven-game road trip. ... The crowd of 21,715 was the Blackhawks fifth sellout this season, the most they've had since 2001-2002. ... Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for the victims of Thursday's shootings at Northern Illinois University. ... Rookie Mike Brodeur was recalled from Rockford of the AHL to back up Lalime. ... Injured Chicago forwards Jason Williams (sports hernia surgery) and Ben Eager (concussion) are expected to return within a week. ... Colorado C Paul Stastny missed his 13th game with a groin injury/appendectomy, but has resumed skating. ... Still out indefinitely for the Avalanche are C Joe Sakic (hernia surgery), D Brett Clark (shoulder), D Kyle Cuminsky (groin) and RW Cody McCormick.
Head coach Joel Quenneville: "I didn't like how we played tonight. We were on the receiving end all night. [Goaltender] Jose [Theodore] kept us in the game, gave us a chance. We would have got lucky to get it to overtime but we weren't pleased with how we played today at all. We were in our end a lot. We didn't have the puck a lot. We made several direct passes from our stick to their sticks without pressure. That's not our game. Our power play was definitely an issue today; it wasn't good enough. [We] missed a couple of empty nets in the first couple there and then it wasn't very effective."