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Wolski's heroics lift Avalanche again

DENVER (Ticker) -- Wojtek Wolski has not had much trouble with

his conversion to center.

Wolski scored the game-winning goal for the second straight

contest and added an assist, lifting the Colorado Avalanche to a

2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

Ryan Smyth recorded a goal and an assist and Andrew Raycroft

made a career-high 43 saves for the Avalanche, who have won

back-to-back contests following a three-game losing streak.

All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell netted a power-play tally and

Nikolai Khabibulin turned aside 30 shots for the Blackhawks, who

had not lost to a team other than the Detroit Red Wings since

November 29.

"You move on. Good teams don't lose two in a row, and that's

something we have to strive to be," Campbell said. "These are

the games that we find a way to win, when maybe we're not at our

best. We've done it all season, and that's the frustrating

part. We didn't find a way to get a point and carry it to

overtime or score one late."

With injuries to top centers Paul Stastny and captain Joe Sakic,

Wolski has moved from left wing, and the transition has been


After notching both goals in Tuesday's 2-1 triumph over the

Nashville Predators, the 22-year-old snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:59

remaining in this one.

"I think whenever you're doing the little things like getting

the pucks in deep, going to the net, you get opportunities and

get your chances," Wolski said.

Following a hooking penalty on Chicago defenseman Matt Walker,

Smyth was able to skate right into the crease with the puck, but

Khabibulin made the save. All-Star Milan Hejduk's rebound

attempt also was stopped, but Wolski converted the third chance

for his 10th goal of the season.

"I feel pretty comfortable at center. I like having the puck

and having the opportunities to skate up the ice with it and

being able to move," Wolski said.

Raycroft did the rest, stopping all 19 shots he faced in the

third period that included a flurry in the final minute after

the Blackhawks pulled Khabibulin for an extra attacker.

"We got a big goal in the third and just played a real solid

game like we did last game," Raycroft said. "When we play that

well defensively, we are going to win a lot more than we lose.

They had some chances they missed, and that was the difference."

"We weren't sharp around their net, and they played well around

their net," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "The last

two periods, we were doing everything right, but we missed the

net with our best chances. They were off-target."

All-Star Patrick Kane, who missed the previous two games with an

ankle injury, collected an assist on Campbell's goal, which tied

the contest at 5:16 of the middle session.



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