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Blackhawks ground Flyers to extend winning streak

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- A record-breaking crowd watched the Chicago

Blackhawks make some history of their own.

Defenseman Brian Campbell and Dave Bolland notched a goal and an

assist apiece as the Blackhawks tied a franchise record with

their eighth straight victory with a 5-1 triumph over the

Philadelphia Flyers before an announced crowd of 22,712 on

Friday.

Andrew Ladd, former Flyer Patrick Sharp and rookie Kris Versteeg

added tallies, while Martin Havlat and Patrick Kane each had two

assists for the Blackhawks, who last won eight straight from

January 4-21, 1981.

"It's pretty impressive," Sharp said. "We are not giving up

much defensively and that is the key. We have four lines and

six defensemen that are playing there roles. You can't ask for

more than that."

Captain Mike Richards netted his 15th goal of the season and

Martin Biron made 33 saves for the Flyers, who experienced some

difficulties with traveling and did not have a morning skate.

"We knew from the start it was going to be (mentally tough day)

today," Richards said. "It is tough coming off a break and not

skating in the morning. But it didn't seem like the effort was

there - it was 2-0 before we knew we were in game. If it wasn't

for (Biron), it would have been a lot worse."

Chicago has entertained 16 sellout crowds in as many home games

and leads the NHL with an average of 21,552 fans per game this

season. Its latest gathering also saw the Blackhawks beat the

Flyers for the second time in over 11 years.

"I thought tonight was one of our better games this year, all

aspects were very solid," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

"It was a good start and it was nice to get a quick two-goal

lead. We needed it because the second period, we couldn't get

that third goal we were looking for."

They entered having tallied only nine goals while dropping six

straight to the Flyers, and were 1-12-0 against them since

December 12, 1997.

Ladd opened the scoring 73 seconds into the contest and Sharp

netted his team-leading 19th goal of the season 82 seconds

later.

"It's great when the first line scores on the first shift, and

you haven't even hit the ice yet," Kane said. "It was important

to get off to the quick start and get our big crowd behind us."

Richards converted passes from Arron Asham and Jeff Carter 7:42

into the session, but Nikolai Khabibulin was impenetrable the

rest of the way. The Russian netminder finished with 17 saves

en route to notching his fifth straight win against

Philadelphia.

Chicago improved to 11-1-4 at home this season.

"For whatever reason, we seemed ready to use our travel problems

as an excuse from the start," Philadelphia coach John Stevens

said. "You can't do that against a team that has lost only one

game (in regulation at home) all season."

The Blackhawks outshot the Flyers, 38-18, overall and by a 14-1

margin in the second period. However, it was not until the third

that Chicago ran away with the victory.

"It's great to be behind the bench, I'll say that," Quenneville

said. "Everyone is chipping in and wants to play. Hopefully we

will keep it up."

Campbell unleashed a slap shot from in front of the blue line

for his sixth tally of the season while on the power play 39

seconds into the final session.

Leading all rookies with 26 points, Versteeg beat Biron while

sitting on the doorstep 4:07 into the third and Bolland capped

the three-goal rally with a wrist shot from the slot one minute

later.

"The key is everyone is buying into the system and we have four

lines that can score," Versteeg said. "Our fourth line has

played great and they inspire the rest of us."

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