Try as the Blackhawks might to give away a road victory Monday night, Colorado goaltender Jose Theodore wouldn't let them.
Martin Lapointe's second goal of the game, on a shot a goaltender making $5.5 million a year should stop, ended up being the winner in a 5-3 Hawks victory.
"I didn't think Lapointe was going to shoot that quick," Theodore said. "It was a quick shot, but it's no excuse. I should have had that."
The goal gave the Hawks a 4-3 lead 5 minutes 26 seconds into the third period and came 3:25 after Colorado had completed a three-goal rally to tie the game on a power-play goal by Patrice Brisebois.
"The guys stayed composed," Lapointe said. "The game could have gone either way."
Teammate Martin Havlat, who added two assists, said of Lapointe: "Marty had a great game for us."
In a game dominated by special teams, the Hawks were the beneficiary of some shaky goaltending by Theodore.
The Hawks' first goal, from Lapointe, came from the goal line and off Theodore's pads. Radim Vrbata gave the Hawks a 3-0 lead when his power-play goal somehow sneaked through between Theodore's body and arm.
Vrbata's goal capped three straight power-play goals for the Hawks at the end of the first period and the start of the second. Before that they had failed to convert on their first four chances of the night.
But after dominating the Avalanche in the first period, the Hawks were dominated in the second and had a familiar face come back and bite them.
Tyler Arnason, who spent his first four seasons in the NHL with the Hawks before being traded to Ottawa last March and subsequently signing with Colorado, assisted on Joe Sakic's power-play goal to make it 3-1, then scored his second goal in as many games to cut the lead to one.
"You pretty much know that every game you're going to be short-handed five or six times," Hawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin said. "You don't even have to think about it."
The Hawks had 10 power plays, converting on three, while Colorado went 2-for-6. Khabibulin was good when he needed to be.
"He was solid," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said. "The team has given him some goals to work with, and when we've needed a save, we've gotten it."
Patrick Sharp closed the scoring with an empty-net goal, his third goal of the season, as the Hawks again moved over the .500 mark at 3-2. It's the latest the Hawks have been above .500 since Feb. 17, 2003.
Havlat was named one of the NHL's "Three Stars" for the week ending Sunday. Havlat was named the second star. Dallas goaltender Marty Turco was the first star and Toronto's Mats Sundin the third star. ... Havlat's two assists ran his streak of multiple-point games to five. He also had a game-high eight shots on goal. ... Denis Arkhipov is the latest to find a seat in the press box as a healthy scratch. Arkhipov played just 5:34 Saturday in St. Louis. "He hasn't competed hard enough," Yawney said. Matt Keith was in the lineup for the first time this season, with Reed Low also scratched. ... Colorado center Paul Stastny is the son of Hall of Famer Peter Stastny, who spent most of his career in Quebec playing with Sakic. ... Colorado's NHL-record sellout streak of 487 games ended Monday. The last game the Avalanche failed to sell out was Nov. 9, 1995, when it played at old McNichols Arena.
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