Havlat returns to score twice in Blackhawks' victory over Lightning

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CHICAGO - Martin Havlat wasted no time proving he's still one of the NHL's best offensive threats.

Havlat scored two goals in his first game back from a right shoulder injury, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 21 saves to lead the Blackhawks to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Havlat missed 22 games after injuring the shoulder in Chicago's season opener at Minnesota. He opted to rehab the shoulder without undergoing surgery.

"I just wanted to be helpful," Havlat said. "I know at the beginning. I'm not going to feel great. I need to get my legs back. At the end I was getting tired."

Havlat, who played just over 17 minutes, was in his old form early.

He opened the scoring with a flashy move and goal just 43 seconds into the contest. Havlat then ripped in a shot from a faceoff 12 seconds into the second period.

"We were pumped to have him back in the lineup," said Chicago rookie Jonathan Toews, who also scored. "We didn't expect him to explode like that. But he played great, didn't miss a beat."

Khabibulin faced the Lightning for the first time since leaving Tampa Bay and signing with Chicago as a free agent in August 2005. He lost his shutout bid midway through the third period when the Lightning's Nick Tarnasky scored a power-play goal.

"These guys are very explosive," Khabibulin said. "It's always kind of nice to beat your old team. Unfortunately, they don't give extra points for that."

Dustin Byfuglien and Patrick Sharp also scored to help Chicago extend its home winning streak to four games. Patrick Kane, the NHL's rookie scoring leader, had three assists, and Khabibulin added two assists.

"It's nice to have him (Havlat) back," Kane said. "Obviously, it gives us some more room and that's nice to have."

Tampa Bay has lost five straight (0-4-1).

"During this stretch of games, we've played pretty good hockey and not gotten the results," Lightning assistant coach Mike Sullivan said. "Tonight, we just didn't give ourselves a chance to win."

Lightning starting goalie Johan Holmqvist allowed three goals on 10 shots through the first two periods. Marc Denis played the third and surrendered two goals on seven shots.

"He haven't been playing that bad during this hiccup," Denis said. "But tonight was a stinker. We need to find ways not to get behind the 8-ball like we have been."

Chicago centre Jason Williams left the game late in the second period after being high-sticked in the face by Tampa Bay's Paul Ranger, but returned. Williams had missed the Blackhawks' previous four contests with a groin injury.

Byfuglien made it 2-0 at 5:31 of the first. He fired in a rebound of Kane's shot from right wing after he and Kane moved in 2-on-1 against Lightning defenceman Filip Kuba.

Havlat scored from a faceoff 12 seconds into the second to make it 3-0. He ripped in a shot from the edge of left circle after Robert Lang won a draw.

Sharp's power-play goal at 2:20 made it 4-0. He fired into an empty net after Kane deked Denis out of position and slid a pass across the crease.

Tarnasky cut it to 4-1 with a power-play goal at 9:52 of the third. He connected after Ranger's shot hit the post.

Toews scored with 9:35 left in the third to make it 5-1. We wristed in a shot after Kane's shot bounced of the back boards.

Notes: Khabibulin had two assists. ... Chicago D James Wisniewski sat out the game with facial injury, but according to team officials could have played. RW Rene Bourque missed his fourth game with a broken thumb. ... Chicago LW Sergei Samsonov and D Magnus Johansson were healthy scratches. ... Lightning C Ryan Craig missed his first game with a left knee injury. ... Tampa Bay's Kuba returned after missing a game with an abdominal strain.... Lightning C Andreas Karlsson was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.



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