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Dustin Byfuglien lifts Chicago Blackhawks past Colorado Avalanche 4-3

NHL.com @NHL

DENVER - Dustin Byfuglien assured a happy homecoming for coach Joel Quenneville when his second goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

The Blackhawks snapped a four-game road winless streak and handed the Avs their first loss in five games at home. Chicago (14-6-2) hadn't won away from the United Center since Nov. 22 at Toronto.

Quenneville, jettisoned in the off-season after leading the Avs to a .579 winning percentage over the last three seasons, is 13-4-6 since taking over as Chicago's coach in mid-October.

Andrew Ladd's goal between Peter Budaj's legs tied it at three midway through the final period and, four minutes later, Martin Havlat picked up the puck along the boards as a power play ended and sent a pass to the front of the net, where Byfuglien redirected it past Budaj with 6:09 left.

Colorado's Wojtek Wolski broke a 2-2 tie early in the third period when he took the pass as he was coming out of his zone, split defencemen Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell with a burst of speed and slapped the puck past Nikolai Khabibulin in what had all the appearances of a shootout goal.

The only goal in the second period belonged to Byfuglien, whose breakaway score under the right arm of Budaj tied it at two.

The Avalanche took a 2-1 lead in the first period after allowing Craig Adams to score 2 1/2 minutes into the game. Rookie Chris Stewart tied it when he beat Khabibulin with a slap shot from the right circle just as the power play was ending. Assisted on the goal was Ian Laperriere, who then put Colorado ahead 2-1 when he took John-Michael Liles' pass from the boards and redirected it over Khabibulin's right shoulder.

Quenneville, who replaced Denis Savard on Oct. 16 four games into the season, coached Colorado the last three seasons. He's now 1-1 against his old team that he led to two post-season appearances. Quenneville and the Blackhawks got the best of the Avs in a 6-2 win over Colorado on Nov. 1 in Chicago.

This marked the Avs' first game since learning they'll be without captain Joe Sakic until mid-March because of a snow blower accident that left him with three broken fingers on his left hand Tuesday night. It's been an injury-filled season for the 39-year-old Sakic, who decided to return for a 20th year after almost retiring during the off-season. He was already being treated for a herniated disk when he got hurt.

Notes: Budaj has started 25 of Colorado's 29 games. ... The Avalanche hit the road for four straight games, the team's second-longest trip of the season.

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