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Martin Lapointe scores twice to lead Blackhawks to 5-3 win over Avalanche

Martin Lapointe scored a pair of goals during the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. The other Martin - Martin Havlat - had a good game, too, assisting on a pair of goals. He now has six goals and six assists through five games. With Havlat off to a torrid start, teams are keeping a close watch on him. That opens up things for players like Lapointe, who scored the winning goal early in the third period.

"Marty had a great game for us," Havlat said. "That was a great goal."

Lapointe scored from just above the right circle when he slipped a shot past Jose Theodore and into the right side of the net.

"During practices I try to shoot the puck as hard as I can," Lapointe said.

The strategy worked. Yet it's a shot that Theodore usually stops.

"I didn't think that (Lapointe) was going to shoot that quick," Theodore said. "I thought he was going to walk in, but he beat me. It's no excuse, I should have had that."

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville won't argue.

"Our goaltending wasn't good tonight," he said. "That was a tough one to give up. Jose will be better next time, but he had a tough night."

Patrick Sharp scored an empty-net goal with a second remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks squandered a three-goal lead when Patrice Brisebois tied the game at 3 after a feed from Milan Hejduk, who was behind the net, early in the third period. Hejduk two assists.

Giving up a three-goal lead was disconcerting for the Blackhawks, but it worked out fine in the end. They gave up a 2-0 lead in a loss to St. Louis on Saturday.

"It would have been a shame to let this one get away," Lapointe said.

Chicago rediscovered its power-play touch Monday, going 3-for-10 against a Colorado team that came into the game ranked second in penalty killing. The Blackhawks were 4-for-19 on the power play before Monday. Not that coach Trent Yawney was worried.

"It's easy to jump on the power play," Yawney said. "Power plays are cyclic."

The Blackhawks scored their first three goals on power plays. Lapointe and Lasse Kukkonen scored 44 seconds apart in the last minute of the first period and Radim Vrbata added a second-period goal, which gave Chicago a 3-0 lead.

Joe Sakic countered 2:24 later with a wrist shot over Nikolai Khabibulin. Tyler Arnason scored with 2:58 left in the second to make it a 3-2 game.

It was a small measure of revenge for Arnason, who was drafted by Chicago in 1998. He spent more than three seasons with the Blackhawks before being traded. Arnason also had two assists.

The Avalanche players were in a sour mood after the game. They didn't take satisfaction in the late comeback.

"We're not happy," Ian Laperriere said. "We are not happy at all."

Notes: The Avalanche's 487-game sellout streak ended Monday night. It was the longest recorded string in NHL history. The last time Colorado didn't have a sellout was Nov. 1, 1995, against Calgary. ... Sakic scored his 576th career goal and now has 1,493 points. ... The Avalanche were averaging 36.5 shots per game, second-most in the league, but took only 22 against Chicago. ... Khabibulin had 22 saves and Theodore finished with 30 saves.



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