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November 13, 2009

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Hawks sting Avs in another shootout

THE Chicago Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Wednesday as the well-matched Western Conference rivals were forced to decide matters in a shootout for a third successive game.

Patrick Sharp sealed victory for the Blackhawks (10-5-2) when he beat Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson in the third round of the shootout.

Recent games between the two teams have tended to go the distance, with Colorado (12-4-3) topping Chicago in the eighth round of a shootout on Friday, while the Blackhawks were the victors in an October 10 game that required a ninth round.

"Any time you face a team so many times in a short period, it's pretty difficult," Sharp told reporters. "There aren't too many moves left, but luckily we got one in there."

In the latest installment, Kyle Cumiskey put the Avalanche on top at 9:44 in the first period before Patrick Kane tied the game less than six minutes later.

Colorado winger Wojtek Wolski restored the lead for the visitors at 13:10 in the second before Cam Barker equalized early in the third.

Elsewhere in the National Hockey League, it was: Washington 5, NY Islanders 4, SO; Los Angeles 5, Carolina 2; Detroit 9, Columbus 1; Buffalo 3, Edmonton 1; and New Jersey 3, Anaheim 1.

In Chicago, Anderson, a Chicago-area native and former Blackhawks player, made 37 saves but was beaten twice in the shootout, including once by Jonathan Toews.

The goaltender kept his team in the contest late where Chicago out-shot Colorado 19-3 through the third period and overtime.

Marek Svatos converted the lone shootout score for the Avalanche, who lost their second straight yet still lead the Northwest Division.

The Blackhawks, who improved to 8-2-1 at home, have been inspired by the return of captain Toews, who suffered a hard body check against the Vancouver Canucks on October 21 and was out of action until Monday.

Meanwhile, NHL general managers took the first steps towards banning shots to the head on Wednesday by establishing a committee that could recommend a rule change for next season.

"We're dealing with people's heads, people's careers," Carolina Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford told reporters at the end of two days of meetings in Toronto.

"Based on the conversation today and the points that were made I sense that we have a chance of some kind of change for next year."

Hits to the head have become the hot issue through the early part of the NHL season with the sight of players sprawled unconscious across the ice following vicious hits triggering calls for change.

The eight-member committee is unlikely to recommend an outright ban on contact to the head but is expected to eliminate blindside hits.


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