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Chicago 4, Detroit 1
Posted: Thursday January 16, 2003 01:20 AM
Detroit Red Wings
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Chicago Blackhawks
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CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The third time was a charm for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Alex Zhamnov and Mark Bell ended long scoring droughts and Mike Eastwood had two assists as the Blackhawks used four unanswered goals to record a 4-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings in the third meeting between the teams in 11 days.

The Blackhawks dropped two overtime losses to the Red Wings in the last five contests and trailed after the first period on a power-play goal by rookie Henrik Zetterberg. But Zhamnov ended a 14-game goalless streak early in the second period to tie it.

Chris Simon and Eric Daze tallied 36 seconds apart midway through the session to stake Chicago to a 3-1 advantage before Bell halted a 12-game drought late in the third with a shorthanded goal.

"Another outstanding hockey game," Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. "It was a speed game early and they took it to us. At the end of the first period, we knew we had to be better, so we made some adjustments and took it to them a bit more. ... I know they are the Stanley Cup Champions, but we match up good with them."

Jocelyn Thibault turned aside 26 shots for the Blackhawks, who have collected at least one point in each of the last 14 games (7-0-4-3).

"I think it was a big win for us to finally get over the hump against these guys," Thibault said. "Losing the last two games to them the way we did in overtime made it important to win this game."

The victory helped Chicago improve to 6-0-3-1 in its last 10 at the United Center and 4-1-2-2 in the last nine meetings with the Red Wings.

"It is our own division, so you expect to see them a lot," Detroit goaltender Manny Legace said. "But I guess playing three times this quickly makes for a good rivalry. At least the last two we squeaked out wins in overtime, but we didn't have it tonight."

Zetterberg opened the scoring midway through the first period, snapping a shot from the slot past Thibault while on the power play for his second tally in three games.

But Zhamnov took a backhanded feed from Kyle Calder at the edge of the right faceoff circle and fired a one-timer past Legace's glove 3:31 into the second for his first goal since December 13, drawing Chicago even.

Goalless since November 15, Simon deflected Andrei Nikolishin's shot from the right circle past Legace at 9:12 for his 99th NHL goal, a power-play tally that put the Blackhawks ahead.

"We've got to play 60 minutes against them because they have four great lines and they keep coming at you," Simon said. "Tonight, we played the whole 60 minutes. That's why we won. We stayed focused and got rewarded."

Less than 40 seconds later, Daze tapped the rebound of Eastwood's backhanded deflection into an open net to give Chicago a two-goal cushion.

"We had just scored to take the lead and we were keeping the pressure on," Daze said. "I was in the right place at the right time and that goal really changed the momentum of the game. It was a big goal."

Two goals shy of becoming just the sixth player in history to reach the 700 plateau, Brett Hull was stopped by Thibault on a breakaway with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the third, ending his four-game goal-scoring streak.

"Breakaways come so few and far between for me," Hull said. "They always think I am going to shoot, but you try not to when you can. I think I had him, I went to put it upstairs, but it only went up halfway."

"We had chances to come back, but Brett got stopped on his breakaway and Shanny (Brendan Shanahan) hit a post, so we were not able to take advantage of our chances," Detroit defenseman Mathieu Dandenault said.

With 4:54 remaining, Bell outraced Zetterberg and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom to Eastwood's flip pass in the Detroit zone and batted it by Legace, who finished with 26 saves.