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Jeff Hamilton's third-period goal leads Blackhawks to 3-1 win over Predators

Hamilton redirected Bryan Smolinski's cross-ice pass just under the outstretched glove of Nashville goalie Chris Mason. Chicago's Martin Havlat scored into an empty net with 36 seconds left. Michal Handzus also scored for Chicago (2-1-0), while Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves. Jason Arnott scored for the Predators (0-3-0).

Mason made his first start, spelling starting goalie Tomas Vokoun, and made 28 saves.

The Blackhawks and Predators entered the game with the two highest goals-against averages in the NHL. Chicago's was 5.50 through two games; Nashville's 7.00 through two.

Handzus had the lone goal of the first period, at 4:57, completing a give-and-go with linemate Radim Vrbata.

After Handzus dropped the puck for Vrbata on right wing, he cut to the edge of the crease. When both Nashville defencemen committed to Vrbata, he dished the puck back to Handzus, who was wide open.

Arnott tied it at one at 5:31 of the third, spoiling Khabibulin's bid for his first shutout as a Blackhawk.

Set up by Paul Kariya's pass from the right boards, Arnott ripped a one-timer from 20 feet out in the slot.

Khabibulin's last shutout came with Tampa Bay in 2004, when he posted five shutouts during the playoffs to help lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup. He signed a four-year, US$27 million free agent contract with the Blackhawks in August 2005.

The Blackhawks beat the Predators 8-6 in the team's season-openers last week.

Notes: In Nashville's opening losses, Vokoun had allowed 13 goals. ... The Predators assigned D Alex Henry to Milwaukee of the AHL. He had been out with a cracked bone in his foot. D Greg Zanon and forwards Scott Nichol and Vernon Fiddler were healthy scratches for the Predators. ... Rookie Fs Matt Keith and Adam Burish were Chicago's healthy scratches.

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