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Raycroft stops 43 shots to lead Avalanche to win over Chicago

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

DENVER - Wojtek Wolski's goal with 6:59 remaining broke a tie, and Andrew Raycroft stopped 43 shots, including a late flurry, in the Colorado Avalanche' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

Ryan Smyth had a goal and assisted on the winner to help the Avalanche snap a two-game home losing streak.

Brian Campbell scored for Chicago.

Raycroft sent a pass to Smyth at the Blackhawks' blue line, who skated in on Nikolai Khabibulin. The goalie stopped Smyth's shot, followed by a rebound chance from Milan Hejduk, only to have Wolski knock it in for his third goal in two games.

Khabibulin was incensed, throwing his stick to the ice behind the net.

Chicago pulled Khabibulin with 1:20 remaining, but couldn't get anything past Raycroft, who tied a career high by winning his sixth consecutive start. He's 8-1 this season, and has won two straight since stepping in for the struggling Peter Budaj.

Campbell tied it at 1 on a slap shot from the right point in the second period. The power-play goal was set up on a pass from Patrick Kane, back in the lineup after missing two games because of a right ankle sprain.

Raycroft kept the game tied with sensational saves on shots from Patrick Sharp and Troy Brouwer late in the second period.

Smyth's goal in the first period was initially waived off, the referee ruling that Smyth kicked at the puck with his right skate.

However, video replay showed no distinctive kicking motion, and the goal was awarded to Smyth, the 297th of his career.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville lost for the first time this season against his former team. He's 2-1 since he was jettisoned in the off-season after leading the Avalanche to a 131-92-23 mark and two post-season appearances.

Chicago is 21-7-6 since Quenneville replaced Denis Savard on Oct. 16.

Colorado captain Joe Sakic underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk on Wednesday. If rehab goes as scheduled, the 39-year-old centre might be back for the final month of the season. It's been a tough season for Sakic, who also broke three fingers in a snow blower accident last month.

Notes: The Avalanche also are without Paul Stastny (broken arm), Ian Laperriere (back) and Adam Foote (arm). ... Kane has 26 assists this season. ... In addition to his goal, Wolski also had an assist. ... Khabibulin finished with 30 saves.

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