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DiPietro makes 30 saves, leading Islanders to 5-2 win over Blackhawks

Rick DiPietro turned aside 30 shots, and Alexei Yashin scored the decisive goal in the Islanders' 5-2 victory over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night that ended a very successful stay on Long Island.

Mike York, Viktor Kozlov, Mike Sillinger and Jason Blake also scored for the Islanders, who went 4-1-2 on their seven-game homestand. After visiting New Jersey on Thursday, New York will play two more games at home before a five-game road trip.

"It was a great homestand," Sillinger said. "We got back over .500 (5-4-2) after starting with three straight losses. We also got our power play working well."

Jassen Cullimore and Denis Arkhipov scored for the Blackhawks, who snapped a three-game shutout streak but lost their sixth straight game. Chicago hasn't won since a 2-1 home victory over Montreal on Oct. 18. Brian Boucher stopped 19 shots but fell to 0-6.

Cullimore's goal with 4:14 left in the second period was the Blackhawks' first in 240 minutes, 56 seconds - dating to a score by Michal Handzus on Oct. 21 in a 4-3 home loss to St. Louis.

"I think we had three goals disallowed during (the streak)," said Chicago captain Adrian Aucoin, formerly of the Islanders. "It's nice to finally score, but it would be nicer to win."

The Blackhawks outshot the Islanders 10-8 in the opening period, but New York had the better chances. The Islanders took advantage of their third power play with 1:41 left in the period when York knocked in the rebound of Miroslav Satan's right point slap shot for his third goal of the season.

In the second period, three straight Islanders penalties gave Chicago a pair of two-man advantages that lasted 19 and 48 seconds. DiPietro stopped six shots in that span to preserve the 1-0 lead.

"If you get to see the shots and the defence doesn't allow second chances, the shots sometimes don't mean as much," DiPietro said.

New York made it 2-0 at 11:44 when Kozlov picked off a pass at his own blue line and sped in alone on Boucher. He faked a forehand move, switched to his backhand, and slid the puck into the open left side.

Yashin extended the lead to 3-0 at 14:38 on a power-play slap shot from outside the left circle that beat Boucher - who was screened - between the pads. The Islanders captain has three goals and six assists in his last five games.

Cullimore ended the Blackhawks' scoring drought when his shot from the right point deflected off Islanders defenseman Alexei Zhitnik and over DiPietro's glove into the top left corner.

Chicago scored again 82 seconds into the final period. Arkhipov picked up a loose puck at his own blue line, skated to the high slot and beat DiPietro with a wrist shot to the right side.

One of New York's biggest problems over the last two seasons has been finishing games when they carry a lead into the final period.

Islanders coach Ted Nolan said his team didn't waver after Arkhipov's goal.

"We never lost our composure," Nolan said. "We're slowly starting to get some feel-good on this team. There was no sense of panic on the bench."

Sillinger iced the game with 2:30 left on a wrist shot from the low right side that got between Boucher's pads. Blake scored his 100th NHL goal on a power play from the right crease with 52.7 seconds remaining.

Aucoin said the losing streak was mostly due to lapses, rather than effort.

"I think we're working hard," Aucoin said. "It's just maybe we're not working as smart as we can. Guys try to do too much, and we start to work individually, when we all know that we have to work as a team to win."

Notes: After Handzus' goal against St. Louis, Chicago was shut out at home by Vancouver (5-0) and Anaheim (3-0), and then Monday night in Philadelphia (3-0). ... Attendance was announced as 8,739, the smallest crowd of the season in the Islanders' seven home games.


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