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Special teams power Blackhawks over Thrashers

ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Nikolai Khabibulin certainly enjoys playing

the Atlanta Thrashers.

The Russian turned aside 36 shots and captain Jonathan Toews

scored a power-play goal to snap a tie late in the second period

as the Chicago Blackhawks recorded a 3-1 triumph over the

Thrashers on Wednesday.

Patrick Sharp also tallied with the man advantage and Dave

Bolland added a shorthanded empty-net goal for Chicago, which

improved to 5-2-0 on its eight-game road trip.

Defenseman Cam Barker notched a pair of assists as Khabibulin

posted his sixth win in his last nine meetings with the

Thrashers.

All-Star Ilya Kovalchuk scored his team-leading 24th goal and

Kari Lehtonen made 25 saves for Atlanta, which fell to 2-7-0 in

its last nine contests.

With his team on the power play, Sharp opened the scoring with

5:54 remaining in the second period.

All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell gained control of the puck

along the left wing boards before feeding Sharp in the near

faceoff circle. Sharp settled the puck before wristing it past

Lehtonen for his 23rd goal of the season.

Kovalchuk leveled the contest with 1:55 remaining in the

session, unleashing a shot past Khabibulin for a power-play

tally. It was the captain's seventh goal in his last six games.

Toews responded just 21 seconds later, when he gathered a

rebound and tucked it past Lehtonen for his 17th tally.

Kovalchuk nearly tied the game again, but his sharp-angle blast

- which beat Khabibulin - came just a moment after time expired

in the session.

Just 62 seconds into the third, the Thrashers crashed the net

after Vyacheslav Kozlov attempted to stuff the puck past

Khabibulin. Although the puck eventually crossed the line,

officials ruled that the whistle had blown to stop play.

Atlanta recorded 16 shots in the third period but could not

solve Khabibulin.

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