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Versteeg scores shootout winner as Blackhawks defeat Hurricanes

The Canadian Press
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Chicago Blackhawks\' Kris Versteeg celebrates his game-winning goal during the shootout of an NHL Hockey game Wednesday, March 11, 2009, in Chicago. The Blackhawks defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jim Prisching) Author: The Hockey News

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Versteeg scores shootout winner as Blackhawks defeat Hurricanes

The Canadian Press
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CHICAGO - Kris Versteeg broke a tie in a shootout and the Chicago Blackhawks beat Carolina 3-2 on Wednesday night to end the Hurricanes' winning streak at four games.

With Carolina on a power play and goalie Cam Ward off for an extra attacker, the Hurricanes' Tuomo Ruutu scored with 26.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game 2-2.

Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Ruutu traded goals to open the shootout. And then the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Carolina's Jussi Jokinen also scored to keep it even.

After both teams failed on their next attempts, Versteeg beat Ward to give the Blackhawks the advantage. Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet then stopped Sergei Samsonov as the Blackhawks raced to the ice to celebrate the win.

With the point for the regulation tie, Carolina tied Pittsburgh for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 78 points, although the Penguins have one fewer loss.

Versteeg also had a tying goal in the second period.

In overtime, Ward stopped a partial break by Kane, and Huet blocked a shot by Eric Staal on a breakaway with three seconds to go, preserving the tie.

Ward finished with 39 saves, and Huet had 29.

Troy Brouwer gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead in the final period. On a power play, Kane skated from behind the net and slid a nice pass to Brouwer for the score.

Chicago's victory snapped a two-game losing streak and came without right winger Martin Havlat, who missed his first game of the season after sustaining a lower-leg injury Sunday in a loss to Colorado.

The Hurricanes opened the scoring at 5:24 of the first period. Rod Brind'Amour was wide open on the side and took a pass across the crease from Samsonov for an easy score.

Ward turned away seven shots during two Blackhawks' power plays in the opening period and also snuffed Kane on a point-blank attempt.

Versteeg scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway in the second, using a wrist shot from the left circle to beat Ward high on the glove side, and the Blackhawks had a tie.

Notes: It was Chicago's first win over Carolina since April 3, 1999. The Hurricanes were 7-0-1 against the Blackhawks in that span and had won four straight in Chicago. Wednesday's meeting was the only regular-season one between the teams this season. ... Havlat could play in Friday's game against Columbus. With 21 goals and 36 assists, he is tied for second on the team with 57 points. ... Chicago's Joel Quenneville coached his 900th NHL game. ... Hurricanes' D Joni Pitkanen suffered a lower body injury and did not play in the third period.

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Versteeg scores shootout winner as Blackhawks defeat Hurricanes