A fresh stick of dynamite

Field HockeySportsChicago BlackhawksDenis ArkhipovEdmonton OilersBryan SmolinskiNikolai Khabibulin

Maybe when Martin Havlat gets into game shape, he'll really start showing people something.

Of course, it's hard to imagine Havlat doing much more than he did in his first two games after a seven-week layoff because of a sprained ankle.

In the second of back-to-back games, Havlat had another goal and two more points Sunday night at the United Center as the Blackhawks earned points in their seventh straight game, a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

In the seven games since Denis Savard took over as coach from Trent Yawney, the Hawks have collected 11 of a possible 14 points.

Havlat finished the weekend with three goals and five points in two games. He has scored in eight of his nine games this season and has multiple-point games in seven.

With 10 goals and 18 points in nine games, Havlat is on pace for 70 goals and 126 points, which seems improbable.

But then, so did the last two days.

"The points are just a plus," Havlat said. "I'm happy we won and that we came back [and forced overtime Saturday at Minnesota]."

Bryan Smolinski has seen this show before. Last season Havlat missed most of the regular season with a shoulder injury in Ottawa, then came back and scored seven goals in 10 playoff games.

"I'm not surprised," Smolinski said. "Marty is an unbelievable player. He creates so much space."

Havlat's goal 4 minutes 23 seconds into the third period gave the Hawks some breathing room and a two-goal lead after they had squandered nine power plays in the first two periods, including three two-man advantages.

Havlat picked up a loose puck at center ice and was gone. He waited until he was nearly at the goal line before flipping a backhander over Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson and under the crossbar from a ridiculous angle, as if he were pitching pennies into a fountain.

"Only exceptional players can score that," Savard said. "To wait until the last second and then use the backhand and put it where he put it is tough."

Tuomo Ruutu and Smolinski scored in the first period to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.

The Hawks could have broken the game open with five power plays in the first period alone, but Edmonton cut the lead in half when Jarret Stoll scored on a penalty shot early in the second period.

Denis Arkhipov closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with five seconds left.

"It was a tough night," Savard said. "Three games in four nights. It was a gutsy performance."

One-timers

Radim Vrbata missed his second straight game with an injured left wrist. The Hawks expect him to play Tuesday night in St. Louis. ... Nikolai Khabibulin shook off the flu that sidelined him Saturday to pick up the win with 18 saves. ... Havlat was a plus-4. ... Minnesota hit the post five times Saturday night and the Oilers did it three times on Sunday. Stoll did it twice on the same power play in the second period. ... The Hawks finished 0-for-10 on the power play. "Next time we'll take the yardage," Savard joked. ... It's the second time this season the Hawks have had 10 power plays in a game, the other coming Oct. 16 in Colorado. They converted three times that night.

rfoltman@tribune.com

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