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Hawks pull Khabibulin after second

Friday, 05.22.2009 / 10:13 PM / Conference Finals: Detroit vs. Chicago

By NHL.com Staff

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled from Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night after giving up three goals in the final 5:22 of the second period, setting up a 3-3 tie heading into the third.

Cristobal Huet, who hadn't played since a home-and-home series with Detroit to conclude the regular season, took over in net to begin the third. Khabibulin was not on the Chicago bench. Third-string goaltender Corey Crawford was dressed and on the bench.

Khabibulin didn't skate at Thursday's practice, though coach Joel Quenneville attributed his absence to resting his starting goaltender.

Down 2-0 in the series, the Blackhawks had jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening minute of the second, but the Wings came roaring back on goals by defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Jonathan Ericsson.

Khabibulin, who entered Game 3 with an 8-6 record, 2.85 goals-against average and .899 save percentage, stopped 21 shots. Huet stopped six in the third period and got the win when Patrick Sharp's OT goal gave Chicago a 4-3 win.
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This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

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