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Hamilton, Khabibulin lead Blackhawks over Predators

Oct 13, 2006 - 3:30 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Jeff Hamilton helped the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Nashville Predators for the second time in a week.

Hamilton scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves as the Blackhawks posted a 3-1 victory over the Predators.

Last Thursday, Chicago rallied for a wild 8-6 triumph in the season opener for both teams. One week later, however, it was more of a defensive struggle.

"Nashville is very dangerous when you give them an opportunity like that," Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney said. "Our guys did a nice job of staying tight and blocking some shots."

Hamilton scored his second goal of the season to snap a 1-1 tie with 7:40 remaining. On a seemingly harmless play, Brian Smolinski sent the puck across the ice for Hamilton, who beat goaltender Chris Mason.

After yielding six goals to the Predators last Thursday, Khabibulin picked up the slack in this one, helping Chicago kill off all five of their penalties.

"Tonight, we had a much better effort," Khabibulin said. "It always helps to kill a two-man disadvantage, right after that we scored."

Michal Handzus started the scoring at the 4:57 mark of the first period and Martin Havlat capped the scoring with an empty-netter with 37 seconds remaining in the final session.

"Tonight was the first game we played all year the way we wanted to," Havlat said. "We know we are not going to score eight goals every night, we did do the little things throughout the entire game for all 60 minutes.

"The important part at the end of the game was killing the two-man advantage they had, and people like Martin Lapointe blocking some key shots; that was big for us."

Jason Arnott scored Nashville's lone goal at the 5:31 mark of the second period to tie the game 1-1.

"We had chances and we didn't take advantage of them," Arnott said. "We got to 1-1 and had a chance to go ahead. Right now we have to keep our heads high and not dwell on this game."

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