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Improved Blackhawks are especially Sharp when short-handed @NHLdotcom

Penalties are no problem for the Chicago Blackhawks, the NHL's sharpest team when short-handed.

Patrick Sharp scored his fifth short-handed goal this month early in the third period, snapping a tie and sending the Blackhawks to a 2-1 victory at Calgary on Thursday night.

Chicago also got a short-handed goal from Jacob Dowell in his NHL debut, pushing its league-leading tally to 10. The five scored by Sharp this season matches Ottawa's total, which ranks second among NHL teams.

"We're aggressive all over the ice, we're blocking a lot of shots and we have good speed with our forwards," Sharp explained.

The Flames were controlling the puck in Chicago's end when Jarome Iginla's pass back to the blue line skipped over the stick of defenseman Adrian Aucoin. That allowed Sharp to take off in the other direction and he made a quick move to his forehand before tucking his 11th goal of the season behind Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Blackhawks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and 2-1-1 on a six-game road trip, which continues Saturday night in Edmonton.

"We took our beatings for a couple years in Chicago and winning's certainly new to this team in here - and it's unbelievable. It's so much fun," Sharp said.

In other NHL games, it was: Pittsburgh 6, Ottawa 5 in a shootout; Nashville 3, Detroit 2; and Colorado 3, Edmonton 2.

Iginla scored for Calgary, which had given up one short-handed goal in its first 21 games. The Flames are 3-7-0 in their last 10.

"We outplayed them, we just didn't put it in the net and they got the lucky ones," Aucoin said.

The Flames pressed for much of the third period, outshooting Chicago 15-2 in the final 20 minutes. But they couldn't get the tying goal past Nikolai Khabibulin, who finished with 30 saves.

"You can talk about the short-handed goals all you want, but without Nik tonight the Flames come away with those two points," Sharp said. "He takes a lot of heat, but it's not warranted. We give up a lot of scoring chances and he stands on his head a lot of nights. His numbers might not be amongst the league leaders, but in this room we're confident with him between the pipes."

At Ottawa, Jarkko Ruutu scored on Pittsburgh's fifth shootout attempt to win it.

Ruutu put a backhander through Martin Gerber's pads after Ottawa's Jason Spezza and Pittsburgh's Erik Christensen each converted his team's first attempt.

Dany Sabourin denied Antoine Vermette, Dany Heatley, Mike Fisher and Dean McAmmond for the win after stopping 29 shots in regulation. Sabourin entered midway through the first period.

Sergei Gonchar scored his seventh goal 7:07 into the third as Pittsburgh overcame a two-goal deficit for the second time in the game to tie it at 5.

Spezza scored twice and assisted on Heatley's power-play goal 16:15 into the second, which gave the Senators a 4-3 lead. Christoph Schubert made it 5-3 at 1:04 of the third.

The Penguins erased an early 2-0 deficit with goals by Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Malone 18 seconds apart late in the first. Malone scored his second of the game on a power play to cut it to 5-4.

Daniel Alfredsson had three assists for the Senators.

At Nashville, Tenn., Martin Erat scored one goal and assisted on two others, including Radek Bonk's game-winner in the third period.

Jason Arnott also scored for the Predators, who beat their Central Division rivals despite taking six penalties in the first period. Erat has nine points in his last five games.

Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg had goals for the first-place Red Wings.

Bonk made it 3-2 with a power-play goal at 2:22 of the third period, beating Dominik Hasek. Bonk leads Nashville with nine goals.

Chris Mason made 28 saves for the Predators.

At Edmonton, Alberta, Marek Svatos scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and Colorado snapped a three-game skid.

Karlis Skrastins and Milan Hejduk also scored for the Avalanche, who also ended a four-game road losing streak and improved to 3-7-1 away from home.

Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky had goals for the Oilers, who have lost three of four on a season-long six-game homestand.

Svatos put the Avalanche ahead for the third time midway through the second period. He picked up his own rebound and appeared to direct the puck in with his skate, but a video review showed he was able to touch the puck with his stick just as it was crossing the goal line.

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