Red-hot Huet, Blackhawks defeat Stars

DALLAS (Ticker) — Cristobal Huet is proving to be more than a
capable fill-in for the Chicago Blackhawks while Nikolai
Khabibulin is on the mend.

Huet came within less than eight minutes of his second straight
shutout as the Blackhawks defeated the Dallas Stars, 3-1,
Saturday for their fourth straight victory.

“It’s been a good stretch,” Huet said. “I think we achieved
what we wanted to achieve.”

With the victory, Chicago completed its first season sweep of
Dallas since the Stars relocated from Minnesota in 1993. The
Blackhawks went 4-0 against the Stars, outscoring them, 20-8.

“I think we have a good system, good players and we work hard,”
Huet added. “That’s three reasons right there (for the success
against Dallas).”

Making his fifth straight start with Khabibulin on injured
reserve due to a lower back injury, Huet extended his scoreless
streak to 139 minutes, 53 seconds before Dallas’ Steve Ott
scored on a breakaway with 8:29 remaining.

“We just can’t seem to get points against these guys,” Dallas
coach Dave Tippett said. “These are points that we need.”

Huet, who blanked Florida, 4-0, in his last start Thursday,
allowed his first goal since the second period of Tuesday’s 5-3
win at Tampa Bay. He finished with 30 saves.

“I thought all facets of our game were in order,” Chicago coach
Joel Quenneville said.

Defenseman James Wisniewski celebrated his 25th birthday by
opening the scoring with just his second goal of the season with
3:56 left in the first period while the Blackhawks were on the
power play.

“We didn’t skate this morning,” Huet said. “I felt good.
Getting that first goal in the first period was big.”

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Patrick Kane and defenseman Matt Walker, who tallied his first
of the season, provided insurance in the second. It was only
the second career goal for Walker, a six-year veteran playing in
his 220th NHL game.

Dallas netminder Marty Turco stopped 33 shots, including a
breakaway attempt by Dustin Byfuglien with nine minutes
remaining in the contest to keep the Stars in the game.

Seconds later, Trevor Daley sprung Ott on a breakaway, and he
got Dallas on the board by moving to his forehand and flipping a
shot over Huet’s shoulder.

But Chicago’s defense made things easy for Huet by limiting good
scoring chances in the final minutes, just as it had done

“Losing four games to these guys is disheartening, especially
the last two games against them,” Turco said. “They’re a
talented group of guys that play really fast.”

The Blackhawks ripped Dallas, 6-2, in Chicago a week ago.

“The last two times we’ve played them, they’ve taken it to us,”
Stars center Brian Sutherby said. “They force us to dump pucks.
They make us chase the game, and we are just not skating.”

Chicago went 7-2 on a stretch in which it played eight of nine
games on the road.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been home,” Quenneville said.
“On this particular (three-game) trip, I thought we’ve had three
solid road performances.”

The Blackhawks return home Sunday to host Minnesota, and Huet
wants to play in the back-to-back games.

“It’s up to the coach,” he said. “I have a lot of gas left in
the tank.”