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Wojtek Wolski adds two goals as Avalanche bury Blackhawks 3-2

"We had a 2-on-1 with Joe Sakic and me in a play Joe could probably have scored, but chose to pass to me," Wolski said. "It didn't work out, but it shows what a great guy he is."

Wolski had his first multigoal game of the season, Jose Theodore stopped 17 shots and Sakic had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Saturday night. Colorado got its fifth win in six games overall, and fourth straight at home.

"We place an emphasis on winning at home," Avalanche coach Joel Quenneville said. "We want to make sure that teams coming in here play at the tempo we set and force a high pressure game."

Theodore won for the first time since Dec. 7. He was 0-2 since beating San Jose.

"Tonight, when they had a shot I didn't give too many rebounds and if there was a rebound, our defencemen were cleaning it right away," Theodore said. "I'm really happy with the ways the guys played aggressive. It puts a lot more pressure on the other team."

Radim Vrbata and Patrick Sharp scored for the Blackhawks and Nikolai Khabibulin had 19 saves. Sharp's score was the second short-handed goal of is career.

"It's always tough to come here with the high altitude," Vrbata said. "And we played back-to-back games."

The Blackhawks, winners of the teams' first two meetings, dropped to 8-3-3 since Denis Savard replaced Trent Yawney as head coach on Nov. 29.

Savard was more concerned about his team's failure on the power play. Chicago was 0-for-5 with the man advantage that he had simplified.

"We never recovered pucks and their zone time was good in there," Savard said. "When you don't spend time in their end, you're not going to score."

The score was tied after one period. Vrbata converted passes from Tuomo Ruutu and Tony Salmelainen into get his seventh goal of the year at 2:45 to put Chicago ahead 1-0.

Colorado answered quickly when Sakic was credited with a goal when the rebound of Ken Klee's shot caromed off Sakic's right skate past Khabibulin at 3:57. After Wolski scored a power-play goal at 10:23, Sharp tied the score again poking a pass from Denis Arkhipov past Theodore for a short-handed goal at 11:43.

Wolski's second goal of the night, on a one-timer from the slot, put the Avalanche ahead 3-2 at 4:32 of the second period.

"I did see it," Khabibulin said. "I just didn't get there in time."

Khabibulin kept it a one-goal game, stopping shots from point-blank range by Pierre Turgeon and Wolski over the remainder of the period. Wolski's shot came after receiving the pass from Sakic.

"It would have been nice to get a third goal, but it just didn't happen," Wolski said.

Chicago caught a break at 18:45 of the period when Milan Hejduk drew a high-sticking double minor.

The Blackhawks sent seven shots at Theodore in the nearly three minutes of Hejduk's penalty that carried over into the third period. Theodore made a stick save on Martin LaPointe's shot through a screen and gloved Brent Seabrook's shot.

The Avalanche missed a chance to pad their lead when Patrice Brisebois missed a wide open net at 12:40. Turgeon had a goal waived off at 14:23 when referee Brad Watson had whistled the play dead.

The Blackhawks pulled Khabibulin for the final 1:15, but never got a shot on goal. The game ended with a scramble for the puck in front of Theodore.

"I felt good tonight," Theodore said. "It started out not like the way I wanted it to, but as the game went on I felt good and in the third I felt real good."

Notes: The Blackhawks recalled RW Troy Brouwer from Norfolk of the AHL. ... Sharp recorded Chicago's sixth short-handed goal of the year. ... Sakic has 23 goals and 39 assists in 52 games against Chicago. ... Colorado D Karlis Skrastins played in his 468th consecutive game, longest among active players.



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