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Huet makes 31 saves in Blackhawks' 4th straight win, 3-1 over Blue Jackets

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CHICAGO - The persistent Martin Havlat and the Chicago Blackhawks pushed aside the Columbus Blue Jackets for yet another home victory.

Havlat put Chicago ahead for good midway through the third period, and Cristobal Huet made 31 saves to lead the Blackhawks to their fourth straight victory, 3-1 over Columbus on Sunday night. Chicago improved to 10-1-4 at home.

Havlat ripped a shot from the left circle past rookie goalie Steve Mason at 9:36 of the third to complete a crisp give-and-go with defenceman Duncan Keith.

"It was a nice passing play from him. A nice goal" Havlat said. "Not all the games are pretty. Huet held us in at the end."

Mason had made one of his toughest saves early in the second on Havlat, who was left wide open at the edge of the crease. Mason kicked out his right pad to block Havlat's low shot and preserve a 1-0 lead.

Havlat, however, cashed in on his second prime chance of the night.

"It was a good play," Mason said. "I've got no problem with that goal from my standpoint."

Keith swung deep into the Columbus zone to set up the give-and-go.

"He's (Havlat) a great player and you want to get the puck in his hand," Keith said. "The puck was rolling and I knew he expected it back. If didn't give it back, I would have heard from him."

Patrick Sharp scored in the final second of the second period, and Brent Seabrook added an empty-net goal.

Fredrik Modin scored for Columbus, and the 20-year-old Mason finished with 28 saves. The Blue Jackets have lost five straight on the road.

Mason is 8-5-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average in 14 games since joining the Blue Jackets in early November.

The Blackhawks were having a hard time generating offence through the first two periods. When they did, Mason stopped them.

Chicago eventually broke through. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets couldn't solve Huet for a second time.

Columbus has just 28 goals in its last 13 games.

"It's definitely hard," Mason said. "We played well enough, but just couldn't find a way to put the puck away."

The Blue Jackets had won their previous two games, 2-1 and 3-1, both at home. But coach Ken Hitchcock said his team's top scorers need to step up.

"I think it's frustrating for everyone to live on this 'we played so well' and still only scored one goal," Hitchcock said. "Right now we're living on a fine line and there's not much breathing room."

Modin scored the lone goal of the first period 1:35 in. His screened wrist shot from the right circle flew over Huet's shoulder as he dropped to the ice.

Huet made a point-blank pad save on Rick Nash on a breakaway with just over a minute left in the first.

Sharp's power-play goal with less than a second left in the second tied it at 1. Sharp's shot from the left side of the net deflected in off Mason, who was sprawled on the ice after reaching to make a glove save on Cam Barker's drive from the blue line.

"We weren't rattled by it," Mason said. "We had to go into the third period with the same attitude as if we were up 1-0."

Notes: The crowd of 21,379 was the Blackhawks 15th sellout in 15 home games this season. ... Blackhawks D James Wisniewski is expected to join the team Tuesday in Edmonton. Wisniewski had knee surgery in July and has played the past week with Rockford of the AHL on a rehab assignment ... Fredrik Norrena was the healthy scratch Sunday night in the Blue Jackets' three-goalie rotation. Columbus C Jiri Novotny and D Ole-Kristian Tollefsen also were healthy scratches.


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