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Picard scores for third straight game, Jackets fall, 4-2

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
CHICAGO (AP) -- Martin Havlat had two goals and an assist and the Chicago Blackhawks scored three power-play goals for the second straight game in a 4-2 preseason victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night.

Martin Lapointe and Radim Vrbata also scored, and Sebastien Caron made 18 saves to help the Blackhawks improve to 4-0 in preseason play. Manny Malhotra and Alexandre Picard scored for Columbus (2-3) and Fredrik Norenna stopped 28 shots.

Havlat opened the scoring 5:34 into the first, with his cross-ice centering pass intended for Lapointe deflecting in off Columbus defenseman Marc Methot's skate. Malhotra tied at 8:26 when he wrapped the puck inside the left post from behind the net.

Lapointe gave Chicago a 2-1 lead at 9:49, banging in a rebound of Jeff Hamilton's shot from the point. Vrbata deked Norenna to the ice and tucked in a shot with 7:25 left in the second to make it 3-1.

Picard cut it to 3-2 with 1:38 left in the third when he scored a power-play goal with Norenna on the bench for an extra attacker.

Havlat scored into an empty net with 27 seconds left to complete the scoring.

The Blackhawks signed goalie Brian Boucher to a one-year contract before the game. Boucher had been invited to Chicago's training camp on a try-out basis. Patrick Lalime, originally tabbed as the backup to top goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, will miss the next three months recovering from a herniated disc.

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