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Smyth's overtime goal lifts Avalanche to 4-3 victory over Hawks

CHICAGO - Ryan Smyth's power-play tip-in at 3:07 of overtime lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-3 pre-season win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.

Smyth, at the left edge of the crease, redirected Paul Stastny's cross-ice feed past Cristobal Huet.

Chicago's Martin Havlat scored a power-play goal with less than one second remaining in regulation to force the extra session.

Havlat beat Peter Budaj with a high shot from the left circle. Huet had been pulled for an extra attacker when Smyth was off for hooking.

Colorado's Wojtek Wolski scored two goals and set up Brian Willsie's goal in regulation.

The Avalanche completed their exhibition schedule at 4-1-1.

Wolski had just one assist in two previous pre-season contests.

Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg also scored for the Blackhawks, who finished the preseason at 5-1-2. Sharp posted a team-high six goals in six games.

Budaj stopped 22 shots.

Huet, who figures to start the regular season as Chicago's top goalie, made 21 saves.

Sharp's power-play goal opened the scoring 5:08 in. Wolski tied it 1-1 with just under eight minutes left in the first, completing a 2-on-1 break with Darcy Tucker.

Versteeg gave Chicago a 2-1 lead midway through the second. Wolski tied it at 2 with 4:50 left in the second after cutting around defenseman Brent Seabrook in the slot.

Willsie gave Colorado its first lead, 3-2, at 1:37 of the third. He converted Wolski's centring pass.

Notes: Blackhawks G Nikolai Khabibulin didn't play in any pre-season games. Khabibulin, who is entering the fourth year of four-year, US$27 million contract, cleared waivers last Tuesday and could be sent to Rockford of the AHL when NHL rosters are finalized this week. Chicago GM Dale Tallon said he is talking to other teams about trading the 35-year-old goalie with the hopes of shedding Khabibulin's $6.75 million salary for the coming season.


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