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Blackhawks 4, Avalanche 2 @NHLdotcom

CHICAGO (AP) - Nikolai Khabibulin showed no signs of rust in his return to the Blackhawks net.

Khabibulin made 37 saves in his first game back following a groin pull, Kyle Calder scored two goals, and Chicago snapped the Colorado Avalanche's eight-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory.

Khabibulin, who missed 10 games, was especially sharp in the first period when Colorado outshot Chicago 20-4. For the game, the Avalanche held a 39-25 shots advantage.

"I didn't expect a lot and tried to do the best I could," Khabibulin said. "I got some shots early and got into the game and got a little more confidence.

"Then in the second and third period we played very well. Starting in the second period we did what we need to do. We got it down low and got some turnovers off of that."

Calder, who recorded his second two-goal game this season and seventh of his career, gave Khabibulin credit for keeping the game within reach. It was tied 1-all after 20 minutes even though Colorado had a 6-1 advantage in power plays.

"Nik played well for us," Calder said. "He stood on his head in the first period. It was a vote of confidence for our team to know it was only 1-1. We could only go up from there."

Jim Dowd and Mikhail Yakubov also scored for Chicago, which won for just the third time in 16 games and only the second time in 12 home contests. Radim Vrbata had three assists for the Blackhawks, 3-1-2 in their last six games.

Marek Svatos and Antti Laaksonen had goals for the Avalanche, who hadn't lost since Dec. 30 at San Jose. The streak was the third longest in franchise history.

"Obviously we have had a lot of momentum and things are going well," Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. "We weren't good enough tonight and we've got to be better."

Colorado's problem simply was not being able to beat Khabibulin more than once in the first period, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic said.

"That pretty much sums it up. We had a great first period," Sakic said. "Khabibulin made some great saves, then we got a little sloppy in the second and they capitalized.

"He was in the right spots. You didn't see a lot of net out there. He's never really struggled against us."

Avalanche goalie David Aebischer made 21 saves in his eighth straight start. His seven-game winning streak also ended.

"We dominated the first period, but made a couple of mistakes that cost us a little bit," Aebischer said. "The same with me, I maybe wasn't patient enough, especially on the fourth goal."

Although Colorado was in control most of the first period, Calder opened the scoring just 17 seconds in on a rebound.

The Blackhawks had the first three shots, but the Avalanche took the next 16.

Svatos scored a power-play goal on his own rebound - the 13th shot in the string - to tie it 1-all at 6:14. The play was set up after Colorado pressured Chicago rookie defenseman Duncan Keith into a turnover in the left corner.

Dowd deflected in Matthew Barnaby's shot from the left-wing boards at 3:55 of the second period to give Chicago a 2-1 lead. Standing at the front edge of the crease, Dowd redirected the puck off the left post and in.

Andy Hilbert made it 3-1 at 7:43, scoring from the slot during a 4-on-4. He was set up by Vrbata following a turnover by Colorado's Alex Tanguay.

Laaksonen cut it to 3-2 at 9:37 when he pivoted in the slot and beat Khabibulin with a backhander.

Calder's second goal, with 2:48 left in the second, made it 4-2. Moving in on Aebischer on a 2-on-1, Calder shifted to his backhand, then tucked the puck past Aebischer's outstretched pad.

Aebischer was on the bench for an extra attacker when the Avalanche enjoyed their 10th power play, but they couldn't convert.

Notes: Colorado C Pierre Turgeon missed his fifth game with strained shoulder. LW Brad May missed his eighth with a knee injury. D Kurt Sauer was a healthy scratch. ... Chicago rookie D Brent Seabrook returned after missing 13 games with a sprained knee, as did C Curtis Brown who missed five games with a similar injury. ... To make room for Khabibulin, the Blackhawks waived G Craig Anderson, who was claimed by Boston. ... Blackhawks C Patrick Sharp sat out his second game with the flu, and D Adrian Aucoin missed his fourth with a groin pull.

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