CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks were done in again by goals in the
Buffalo's Dmitri Kalinin and Maxim Afinogenov scored in the final period to
lead the Sabres to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks. The game was tied 1-1
after 40 minutes.
Daniel Briere had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who extended
Chicago's losing streak to seven games and winless slide to 12 (0-8-1-3) -- its
longest since the 1994-95 season.
Bryan Berard and Brett McLean scored for the Blackhawks, who haven't won
since Nov. 7 at Nashville.
During their slump, the injury-riddled Blackhawks managed to stay close, but
consistently allowed late goals to lose possible points.
"We got caught trying to create something offensively," Blackhawks coach
Brian Sutter said. "There's no magic formula. The other team on the ice had
three lines that are as good as anyone has in hockey."
Chicago, desperate for a win and desperate for offense without injured
forwards Alex Zhamnov and Eric Daze, committed coverage mistakes that led to
Kalinin's and Afinogenov's goals.
Kalinin, a defenseman, beat goalie Michael Leighton at 1:29 of the third
with a high shot from the slot after pinching in from the left point. He was
set up by a pass from Ales Kotalik.
Afinogenov stuffed in a loose rebound from the goal line with 7:47 left to
make it 3-1.
"It was the type of game where we stayed patient," Buffalo coach Lindy
Ruff said. "We didn't give up a lot of opportunities against a team that was
Buffalo's Mika Noronen stopped 22 shots. Leighton blocked 25.
The Blackhawks' No. 1 goalie, Jocelyn Thibault, is out until February
because of a hip injury that required surgery. Thibault was in goal for
Chicago's last victory.
"We knew they were wounded and they were going to play hard," Briere said.
"You know they're going to come out strong. The good thing is after you get
that lead, it's mentally tough for them to come back in the game."
The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play and have converted just one of
23 chances the last five games. The Sabres also were 0-for-3 on the power play,
After a scoreless first period, Briere opened the scoring at 10:53 of the
After picking up the puck at the Chicago blue line, Briere slipped past
Berard and Nathan Dempsey to break in alone on Leighton. He stuffed a low shot
past Leighton's outstretched left leg.
Berard tied it 1-1 just 2:06 later from the low edge of the right circle.
After pinching in from the point, Berard one-timed Mikhail Yakubov's feed from
behind the net past Noronen.
After Kalinin and Afinogenov gave Buffalo a 3-1 lead, McLean cut it to 3-2
with 1:59 remaining. He scored from the edge of the crease after taking a drop
pass from Scott Nichol.