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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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Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

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