Final - OT
  for this game

Hamilton's hat trick lifts Savard, Blackhawks to another win

Dec 3, 2006 - 4:03 AM NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Jeff Hamilton performed his rendition of the "Music City Miracle."

Hamilton completed his first career hat trick in thrilling fashion, scoring the tying goal late in regulation and the decisive tally 59 seconds into overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks recorded a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Thanks to Hamilton's heroics, the Blackhawks achieved their first three-game winning streak of the season. All three victories have come under new coach Denis Savard, who replaced the fired Trent Yawney on Monday.

"They are starting to believe, they never give up," Savard said. "Our third periods have been great. It takes a lot of heart and a lot of character. I've told the guys that the ones that are playing well are going to play. They are earning their ice time."

Entering the night with a total of three goals in 21 games, Hamilton opened the scoring 30 seconds into the contest but also remembered to save his best for last.

With 34 seconds remaining in the third period, Hamilton took a feed from Radim Vrbata on the doorstep and lifted a shot past sprawling goaltender Chris Mason, who basically was defenseless on the play.

Hamilton struck again in the extra session as Patrick Sharp put a perfect pass on his stick in front of the net. Hamilton completed the simple redirection by tipping the puck past Mason for the winning tally.

"It was a great play by Sharp," Hamilton said. "He was patient and saw me going to the net, he waited and put it right on my tape. All I had to do was tap it in."

While Hamilton gave credit to Sharp, Savard made sure to take note of Hamilton's fine play of late. The 29-year-old has participated in a total of 36 NHL games in his career but is making the most of his latest opportunity.

"In training camp, I liked him a lot," Savard said. "He deserves to be here. He has shown that he can play. At his age, this might be his last chance, so that extra motivation helps, too. I'm proud of him."

The Predators took a 3-2 lead late in the second period as defensemen Shea Weber and Kimmo Timonen scored 23 seconds apart. Scott Hartnell also tallied and Mason turned aside 26 shots for Nashville, which had won four straight.

"I definitely wasn't at my best," Mason said. "We played well enough to win, but we could have been stronger at the end of the game."

The Predators have lost all three meetings this season with the Blackhawks, who have only 10 wins on the campaign.

"They are a lot more aggressive (under Savard)," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "They have some momentum, they have won three games in a row against some pretty good teams. Winning here is big for them because they won the first two at home."

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