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Penalties can't knock off Hawks
General manager Dale Tallon lamented after the second period of Friday night's 3-2 shootout victory that the Blackhawks must lead the NHL in being down two men on penalties.
The Hawks got themselves in trouble again Friday with penalties, with both of Colorado's regulation-time goals coming either with a two-man advantage or seconds after one.
But the Hawks prevailed 3-1 in the shootout with Pavel Vorobiev making a brilliant move for the winner.
John-Michael Liles forced overtime with 2 minutes 3 seconds left in the third with a rocket over Nikolai Khabibulin's left shoulder. There was one second left on a Colorado two-man advantage
The Hawks took the lead on a goal that wasn't a thing of beauty, unless you had a white sweater on. On a delayed Colorado penalty, Matt Ellison and Tyler Arnason came into the Colorado zone on a two-on-one. Ellison's pass deflected off Arnason's skate, and Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj went sprawling to kick the puck away.
Kyle Calder, coming down the slot, flipped a shot over Budaj to give the Hawks a hard-earned lead.
Once again, the Hawks got themselves in trouble by falling behind by two men in the first period. Jaroslav Spacek was in the penalty box for high-sticking when Duncan Keith was sent off for cross-checking, giving the Avalanche a two-man advantage for 37 seconds.
Former Hawk Brett McLean threaded a pass from behind the net to Joe Sakic, who beat Khabibulin at the 8:50 mark of the period to give Colorado 1-0 lead. The goal came four seconds after Spacek's penalty was over, but he had yet to get back into the play.
Spacek tied the game seven minutes later, again on a delayed penalty. Martin Lapointe found Spacek coming late into the rush and Spacek beat Peter Budaj from the high slot.
Spacek was in the lineup with a black right eye after getting hit from a Mark Bell shot in practice Thursday.
Captain Adrian Aucoin skated Friday morning and may be a game-time decision Saturday in San Jose. Aucoin has been out since early in the first period of the Oct. 7 game against San Jose with a groin injury.
Coach Trent Yawney said he hasn't spent much time looking at the results from the rest of the division, specifically Detroit and Nashville, who already have opened up a four-point lead on the Hawks. "I've never been one of those guys that watches [the standings] closely.
I always paid more attention to my team," Yawney said. "I know the results will take care of itself when we play the right way collectively."
NHL coaches and general managers are never at a loss for something to complain or worry about. The latest is goaltenders being "run over" by unimpeded forwards. Yawney said runaway forwards may be affecting goaltenders. "There are more goalies getting bowled over now than ever because there is no price to pay in front of the net," the former defenseman said. "If you're a little worried whether you are going to get your head knocked off, that pushes you back into your net and with the smaller equipment there's more net [to shoot at]."
Cam Barker made his NHL debut Friday.