Lalime stops 21 shots to lead Chicago over Colorado 2-1
CHICAGO – Blackhawks coach Denis Savard just wants his team to continue playing the way it’s been playing.Patrick Lalime stopped 21 shots and defenseman James Wisniewski had two assists in Chicago’s 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.Martin Havlat and Dustin Byfuglien scored for the Blackhawks, who won their third straight game and are 4-0-1 in their last five.Chicago, with 60 points, is six points behind eighth-place Vancouver – and the final playoff spot – in the Western Conference.”Hopefully we’ll continue to play that way all down the stretch,” Savard said. “We’re gelling. Whether we get in (the playoffs) or not, we’re going to pay the price every night.”
Several injured Chicago players, including rookie forward Jonathan Toews, have come back to help spark the Blackhawks, who have missed the playoffs in eight of the last nine seasons.Lalime lost a bid for his first shutout this season when Jaroslav Hlinka scored with 2:25 left in the third. Chicago’s top goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin, is day to day with a right knee sprain.”It’s our hard work and dedication,” Lalime said. “We’re battling right now. A lot of it is buying into the system; finally we’re playing as a team.”Jose Theodore made 25 saves for Colorado, which lost its third straight and failed to convert any of its six power plays.The Avalanche have 65 points and are in ninth place in the conference.
“Today was not good,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “I didn’t like how we played. We were on the receiving end all night.”We were in our end a lot. We didn’t handle the puck a lot. We made some direct passes from our stick to their stick. We haven’t had many games like this.”Byfuglien put Chicago in front during a power-play at 4:48 of the first period.Following a video review, he was credited with deflecting in Wisniewski’s shot from the blue line. Originally, the goal had been awarded to Wisniewski.”We’ve moved the puck on the power play, but hadn’t gotten any goals,” Wisniewski said. “It was nice on the first power play to get a 1-0 lead.”
Havlat made it 2-0 at 2:53 of the second, shortly after the Blackhawks had killed off a 5-on-3 Colorado power play.Havlat beat Theodore high on the stick side from the right circle with a rebound of Wisniewski’s shot from the point.Hlinka scored from just outside the crease in the third period. He converted a centering pass from Cody McLeod.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.
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