Khabibulin saves 34 as Blackhawks stop two-game skid with 5-2 win over Flames

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CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks returned to the United Center - and their winning ways.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves, Martin Havlat, Andrew Ladd and Patrick Sharp each had a goal and an assist, and the Blackhawks rebounded from consecutive losses to Detroit to beat the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Sunday night.

Kris Versteeg and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for Chicago, swept by Detroit in a home-and-home series that featured the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field after winning a franchise-record nine straight games. Defenceman Duncan Keith had two assists.

"This was an important game, back in our building," Keith said. "We wanted to get a good feeling back in our room. It felt like coming back home after a while. Part of the reason for our success at home is because we have a full building."

Wrigley Field was packed with 40,818 fans in Chicago's 6-4 loss to Detroit on New Year's Day. But for the Blackhawks, who improved to 12-1-4 at the United Center before 22,146 customers on Sunday, their indoor confines have been friendlier.

"It was a great opportunity for everybody to be part of (the Winter Classic)," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We move forward. I like the way we handled tonight. We played a team that's playing very well and it was a very important win for us."

Chicago ended the Flames' winning streak at five and snapped their points streak at 10 games (7-0-3). Calgary, which got goals from Todd Bertuzzi and Daymond Langkow, hadn't lost in regulation since Dec. 9 at Montreal.

The Blackhawks bounced back without scoring leader Patrick Kane. He was sidelined by a high-ankle sprain, the first time he has missed a game in his NHL career because of an injury.

Kane was injured Tuesday night in a 4-0 loss at Detroit. The rookie of the year last season, Kane played nearly 18 minutes despite pain on Thursday in the Winter Classic. He's listed as day-to-day.

"With Kaner out, guys have to step up, kind of do it by committee," Ladd said. "If it's me tonight and another guy another guy the next night, that's what we need."

Khabibulin stopped 19 of 20 shots in the third period.

"We came back strong in the third, but it was a little late," Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. It's hard when you get that far behind."

Ladd, Versteeg and Byfuglien scored late in the second to give Chicago a 4-1 lead.

Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff allowed four goals on 28 shots through two periods in his 10th straight start. Curtis McElhinney played the third and stopped seven shots.

"Anytime you've been winning - and we've been moving along pretty well - a loss is hard to swallow," Calgary captain Jarome Iginla said. "We had a chance to make it a one-goal game in the third period, but we couldn't get that third one."

Havlat scored the only goal in the first period, 3:26 in.

Havlat partially fanned on a one-time shot from the right circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Keith. The shot fooled Kiprusoff and slid inside the right post.

Dion Phaneuf's shot from the right point deflected in off Bertuzzi, parked in the slot, 1:09 into the second to tie it at one.

Ladd and Versteeg scored goals 1:19 apart late in the second to make it 3-1.

Ladd connected from the slot following a crisp passing play with Havlat and Keith to make it 2-1 with 5:53 left in the second.

Versteeg scored short-handed, converting a partial breakaway after Phaneuf lost the puck at the point. Calgary's Adrian Aucoin caught up to Versteeg and nearly rode him off the puck, but Versteeg stuffed a shot between Kiprusoff's pads.

Byfuglien ripped in a power-play goal from the edge of the crease with 1.1 seconds left in the second to make it 4-1.

Langkow's power-play goal from the edge of the crease at 6:23 of the third cut it to 4-2. Sharp added and empty-net goal with 1:41 left.

Notes: Chicago D Cam Barker was a scratch for an undisclosed reason. ... Blackhawks RW Adam Burish returned after missing 16 games because of a broken toe. ... Calgary C Wayne Primeau missed his 14th game because of a broken foot. ... The crowd of 22,146 was Chicago's 18th sellout in 18 home dates.



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