CHICAGO (Ticker) — Cristobal Huet is making a case to remain
the Chicago Blackhawks’ No. 1 goaltender.
Huet made 23 saves and Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal as
the Blackhawks extended their home winning streak to three games
Wednesday with a 2-0 triumph over the Ottawa Senators.
Troy Brouwer added an empty-net tally for the Blackhawks, who
improved to 3-0-1 in their last four games overall and 9-1-4 at
the United Center this season.
“Their top line is very dangerous and Huet was spectacular,”
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Making his sixth consecutive start in place of the injured
Nikolai Khabibulin, Huet turned aside nine shots in the first
period and seven in each of the final two sessions en route to
his first shutout of the season and 18th career.
“It feels great, but the guys did a great job on the penalty
kill,” Huet said. “I was able to move well and made some good
Huet was signed to a four-year, $22.54 million contract over the
summer despite the fact Khabibulin had one year at $6.75 million
remaining on the four-year, $27 million deal he inked in July
Khabibulin has missed Chicago’s last six games with a lower body
injury but served as Huet’s backup for this one.
Martin Gerber made 28 saves for the Senators, who fell to 0-5-2
in their last seven road games.
“They are much better than when the lockout ended,” Gerber said
of the Blackhawks. “They are a much-improved team. They have
young players who play with a lot of energy.”
With Ottawa’s Jarkko Ruutu in the penalty box for roughing, Kane
gave Huet all the support he needed less than 5 1/2 minutes into
After receiving a pass from Patrick Sharp at the bottom of the
right faceoff circle, Kane skated toward the hash marks and
unleashed a shot. As he was releasing the puck, it hit the
blade of Antoine Vermette’s stick and fluttered past Gerber and
inside the left goalpost at 5:17, giving the Blackhawks a 1-0
“Sharp made a great pass to me and I saw an opening on low
blocker,” Kane said. “But the puck went up and in. You get
those once in a while, and I’ll take it.”
“He just circled out and got position in front of me,” Gerber
said. “Then the puck took a hop and someone tried to bat it
away. When he shot it, it went up over me and wobbled in.”
Kane then made things a bit difficult for Huet, committing four
high-sticking penalties, including a double-minor with six
minutes remaining in the second period.
“He sure was on the scoresheet a lot,” Quenneville said. “The
goal was great, but we need him on the ice, and we will have a
talk about that. … We did a great job on the 5-on-3.”
Kane defended taking the double-minor but had no excuses for the
other two penalties.
“The double-minor was a case of them starting to take runs at
me,” he said. “If that is going to happen, I will protect
myself. Teams need to know that. The other two penalties were
But the French-born Huet stood tall, making his best save on
Dany Heatley during a power play created by Kane three minutes
into the middle session.
“Yeah, that was good, but I owed the team after I didn’t see a
shot during the 5-on-3,” Huet said of the stop on Heatley.
The Senators, who went 0-for-6 on the power play, admitted their
futility was the difference in the game.
“Special teams hurt us tonight,” Senators coach Craig Hartsburg
said. “Our power play has to be better than that. We didn’t
move the puck very well when we had the advantage.”
“We had chances on them and did not take advantage of it,”
Gerber added. “Our PK was good, but not good enough.”
Brouwer tallied with 41 seconds remaining in the third to seal
the win as Chicago improved to 6-2-2 all-time at home against