Blackhawks Hang On For 2-1 Win Over Avalanche
CHICAGO (AP) - Tuomo Ruutu and Adrian Aucoin scored, and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 28 shots to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night.
Chicago won its second straight game and fourth in its last five. The Blackhawks improved to 7-1-3 under coach Denis Savard, who replaced Trent Yawney on Nov. 27.
Brett McLean had the lone goal for the Avalanche, whose three-game winning streak was snapped. Colorado's Jose Theodore made 23 saves.
Ruutu scored with 5:12 left in the first period, scoring his fourth goal in five games. Ruutu beat Theodore from 15 feet out in the slot after Martin Havlat's centering pass from behind the net deflected to him off the skate of Colorado's Tyler Arnason.
Theodore stopped Chicago's Jeff Hamilton on a breakaway just under two minutes into the second period.
McLean tied it at 6:13 of the second on a goalmouth deflection. With a delayed penalty coming up against Chicago, McLean redirected Arnason's shot from the right boards upward and over Khabibulin's shoulder.
Aucoin's power-play goal gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with 7:02 left in the second.
Aucoin, who had missed the previous 11 games with a groin pull, beat Theodore with a rising, screened drive from the blue line.
Khabibulin made a point-blank pad save on Milan Hejduk with just under 6 minutes left in the third to preserve the 2-1 lead.
Notes: Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook missed the game because of a sore back. LW Rene Bourque was a healthy scratch. ... Colorado RW Brad Richardson sat out with an elbow injury. LW Antti Laaksonen was a healthy scratch. ... The Avalanche's Marek Svatos returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game against Edmonton because of a groin injury. ... The Avalanche said Sunday they will move their AHL affiliate from Albany, N.Y., to a new franchise in Cleveland, effective next season.