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Blackhawks beat Bruins 5-2 for 5th straight win

by John Kreiser

The Chicago Blackhawks didn't let a little thing like an early two-goal deficit keep them from rolling to their fifth consecutive victory.

The Hawks spotted Boston a quick two-goal lead Thursday night before roaring back with five unanswered goals for a 5-2 victory at TD Garden. Duncan Keith scored twice and set up another goal to help the Hawks move back into the top spot in the overall standings with 65 points, two more than San Jose.

The Bruins raced out to their quick lead on Blake Wheeler's power-play goal at 5:30 and a snap shot from the right circle by newcomer Miroslav Satan that beat Antti Niemi at 8:02.

''I think everyone was just (angry), basically, getting down there, 2-0,'' defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. ''We just wanted to turn it around, and we did.''

Said Wheeler: ''Maybe we let our foot off the gas when it was 2-0. 'With a team like Chicago, you've got to be tasting blood at that point. You've got to be thinking of making three or four.''

Instead, the rest of the night belonged to Chicago, which has won 12 of its last 14. Goals by Keith at 12:49 and Tomas Kopecky at 18:04 tied the game before the end of the opening period, and Andrew Ladd put the Hawks ahead to stay 1:42 into the second period, poking home a loose puck in the crease.

''We realized there's still a lot of hockey left, so we didn't want to get down on ourselves or anything like that,'' Keith said. ''We have a lot of confidence. I think a lot of that comes from just knowing the fact we have ... so many guys who can put the puck in the net. I think that just gives us confidence, knowing that we can score some goals if we're down some.''

Keith added his second goal at 10:13 on an unscreened wrist shot from the left point that sent starting goaltender Tim Thomas to the bench. Patrick Kane put the game away by beating Tuukka Rask with 2:11 left in regulation, extending his points streak to 10 games.

"Our first period -- we had a good start, got off to an early lead," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We let them back in the game. Our second period hurt us badly. We weren't very good.

The Hawks outshot Boston 32-21 and stifled Boston's offense over the last 50 minutes. Niemi finished with 19 saves as the Hawks beat the Bruins in regulation for the first time since 2003.

"Against a team like this -- probably the best team in the League right now -- you have to manage the puck well, and we didn't do that well enough tonight," Julien said.

As bad as the outcome of the game was, the worse news for Boston was the loss of first-line center Marc Savard to an apparent right leg injury when he got twisted up against the boards just 28 seconds into the game. He didn't return.

It was the third straight game that Boston has lost a key player: On Monday, Patrice Bergeron broke his thumb during a 3-2 loss to the Rangers in New York, and defenseman Andrew Ference hurt his groin in Tuesday's 4-1 win at Ottawa. The Bruins did get Milan Lucic back from a left ankle sprain that has kept him out since Nov. 25.

"We know we're plagued with some injuries right now," Julien said. "We're going to have to grind it out like we did earlier on in the year when we had those kind of injuries as well."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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