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Ruutu scores in shootout to lift Blackhawks past Ducks

Nov 18, 2006 - 6:17 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Tuomo Ruutu's late heroics gave Nikolai Khabibulin a reason to smile.

Ruutu scored the tying goal in the third period before netting the shootout clincher and Khabibulin made 42 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks.

Coming off Thursday's shootout loss at Phoenix, the Blackhawks avenged a 3-0 defeat to Anaheim on October 28. Chicago also snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Ducks and won for the third time in nine road contests.

The win was especially sweet for Khabibulin, who made his first appearance in nine games after suffering a broken finger on October 21. The 33-year-old Russian faced 35 shots in the first two periods and turned away all three attempts in the shootout.

"The finger felt fine," Khabibulin said. "It was good to face a lot of shots, especially with many of them from the perimeter. Any NHL goaltender should be able to stop shots coming from the perimeter. The start wasn't what I was looking for, but after that, I felt pretty good."

"He won the game for us and that's what he's there for," Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "He played pretty well after a three-week hiatus and faced a lot of shots. That bodes well for him. He had a rusty start, but he settled down."

After Jeff Hamilton and Radim Vrbata failed to beat Ilya Bryzgalov in the first two rounds of the shootout, Ruutu ended the game when his shot made it inside the left goalpost.

"It shows a lot that we were down, 3-1, and battled back against a really good team," Ruutu said. "It's good for our team."

"He's more of a shooter than a deker," Yawney said. "The players deserve a lot of credit. They obviously were fatigued and found a way to find some energy and get two points."

Chris Kunitz gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with his 10th goal of the season on a power play with 4:39 remaining in the second period before the Blackhawks began their comeback.

Just 1:36 later, Partick Sharp snapped a 12-game streak without a goal that dated to October 16 when he fired a shot from the slot that got past Bryzgalov for his fourth tally of the season.

Chicago tied the score with 9:21 remaining in the third when Ruutu skated toward the blue line along the right boards, turned and sent a wrister toward the net that Bryzgalov never saw. It was his second goal of the campaign.

"Our guy went to the net and I just shot the puck in there," Ruutu said. "If we didn't have somebody in front, it wouldn't have gone in. I just tried to keep things simple and shoot hard. That works and I felt good about it."

"I never saw that shot, but it's still a solid goal," Bryzgalov said. "I have to find the puck."

Bryzgalov stopped 21 shots before losing in his first career shootout for Anaheim, which has dropped three of four after opening the season with points in its first 16 games.

"We made some mistakes and gave up some goals," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "The only thing that we can say is that we worked extremely hard to draw penalties, and we didn't make the most of the opportunities."

Anaheim needed just 55 seconds to open the scoring when Francois Beauchemin deflected fellow defenseman Scott Niedermayer's wrist shot from the left point past Khabibulin for his second goal of the season.

Teemu Selanne netted his 497th career tally and fifth of the campaign at 1:38 of the second session by redirecting Niedermayer's setup into the top left corner of the net, giving the Ducks a 2-0 edge.

"I thought we came out and had some pretty good energy," said Niedermayer, who finished with a season-high three assists. "The forwards were working hard, skating, and drawing a lot of penalties. They made it hard on their defense. When you keep your feet moving, you draw a lot of penalties."

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