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Arkhipov lifts Blackhawks out of 10-game funk as they top Flames 4-3 in OT

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Denis Arkhipov's second goal of the game, on the power play at 2:53 of overtime, lifted the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday and snapped Chicago's 10-game losing streak.

"It's a big win for us," Arkhipov said. "It's a special feeling."

Arkhipov beat Miikka Kiprusoff with a high screened shot from the right circle on Chicago's eighth advantage of the game. The Blackhawks had failed to convert seven previous chances during the game, and are 4-for-50 on the power play through their last 11 contests.

Overall this season, the Blackhawks have scored on just 10.9 per cent of their power plays.

"It's just taking shots," Arkhipov said.

Calgary coach Jim Playfair called Kiprusoff "our best player in the game" and couldn't fault his goalie for not blocking the game-winner.

"Our defenceman screened our goaltender in a 4-on-3 situation in overtime and the shot went in just off the far side post," Playfair said. "That's a shot we've got to block."

The game-winner was Arkhipov's second dramatic goal of the game. He had deflected in Duncan Keith's shot from left wing with 44 seconds left in regulation to tie it 3-3 and set up overtime.

Ending the losing streak choked up Chicago coach Denis Savard, who was clearly emotional in addressing media after the game.

Chicago won for the first time since Jan. 2 in St. Louis, ending an 0-8-2 slide. The Blackhawks also won for the first time at home since Dec. 26, stopping an 0-6-2 run.

"Some nights, no luck," Savard said. "Finally we got a little luck, but we earned it big time, big time.

"There's a bunch of good men in that room and.... I'm proud of them."

James Wisniewski and Jeff Hamilton also scored in regulation for the Blackhawks.

Calgary's Alex Tanguay had scored on a breakaway with 3:17 left in regulation to give Calgary a 3-2 lead. He took a long pass from Matthew Lombardi, slipped past Wisniewski and beat Nikolai Khabibulin with a shot high on the stick side.

Tanguay also assisted on second-period power-play goals by Daymond Langkow and Kristian Huselius, scored 1:49 apart, that erased a 2-0 Chicago lead.

But Tanguay was sent off for holding Chicago's Martin Havlat at 1:11 of overtime, paving the way for Arkhipov's game-winner.

"I thought it was a pretty average call," Tanguay said. "But, oh well, I guess it's part of the game.

"It was disappointing when you have the lead 3-2. Especially with three minutes left, you have to find a way to put the game away."

Added Playfair: "We were playing a desperate hockey team that's trying to scratch out points. I think we found our own way to get a point."

Khabibulin stopped 19 shots. Kiprusoff made 36 saves in his 10th straight start.

Huselius extended his point scoring streak to nine games. He has six goals and seven assists during the span.

Wisniewski scored the only goal of the first period at 9:21, two seconds after a penalty to Calgary's Marcus Nilson expired. Wisniewski beat Kiprusoff with a high shot on the glove side from the right circle to complete a crisp passing sequence with Tuomo Ruutu and Peter Bondra.

Hamilton made it 2-0 at 2:35 of the second. Although he was apparently covered by two Flames players at the edge of the crease, Hamilton was able to turn and slide in a forehand shot after taking a feed from Patrick Sharp.

Langkow and Huselius then tied it with their power-play goals.

Langkow connected with 8:13 left in the second, jamming in the puck from the edge of the crease after Tanguay slid it in front of the net from the right corner.

Huselius converted a rebound of Tanguay's shot with 6:24 remaining. With Khabibulin down, Huselius lofted in a high shot from the left side of the crease.

Kiprusoff made a point-blank save on Sharp at 10:20 of the third to preserve the tie.

Notes: Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus attended the game. The United Center organist played the Czech national anthem before the contest. ... Chicago C Peter Bondra returned after missing four games because of a shoulder injury. ... Chicago goalie Patrick Lalime was in uniform, albeit as a backup to Khabibulin, for the first time this season. Lalime missed the first half of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a herniated disc. Chicago D James Vandermeer sat out his first game with a broken ankle. ... Flames D Robyn Regehr missed his second game with the flu. ... Calgary RW Chuck Kobasew also didn't skate. He played in the Flames' previous contest in Minnesota on Friday, but had missed the previous eight games with a concussion. ... Flames players still out with long-term injuries include RW Jarome Iginla (missed 10th game with a knee sprain) and LW Darren McCarty (missed 15th game with a hip injury).



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