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Blackhawks' Arkhipov back on track
Denis Arkhipov's roller-coaster season took another twist Sunday.
One day after coach Denis Savard wondered why the Russian center couldn't play at a consistent level in every game, Arkhipov scored the tying and winning goals as the Blackhawks snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames.
Sunday was Arkhipov's first two-goal game of the season and his first since Feb. 5, 2004, when he was a member of the Nashville Predators. They were also his first goals in six games and just his third in the last 13.
Arkhipov was one of the Hawks' better players immediately after Savard took over as coach but hasn't been as noticeable recently, forcing Savard to wonder why he doesn't see the same player every game.
Of course, if Arkhipov were consistent throughout his career, the Predators likely wouldn't have let him go back to Russia after the 2003-04 season.
Savard said he sat down with Arkhipov on Saturday and they watched Friday's game against the Predators together, with Savard pointing out areas of improvement.
"I know that guys once in a while need to be pushed harder," an emotional Savard said.
The tying goal came with 44 seconds remaining after the Flames scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead late in the third period. Arkhipov redirected a shot from Duncan Keith in front of Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
The winner came on a power play as he ripped a shot from just inside the blue line.
"Anytime you score a goal, especially in overtime, it's a special feeling," Arkhipov said.
The Hawks now depart on the longest trip of the season, beginning a seven-game stretch Thursday night in Los Angeles. They were nearly staring at the club record for losses in a season as well.
After taking a 2-0 lead on goals from James Wisniewski and Jeff Hamilton, the Hawks had a two-man advantage for 50 seconds midway through the second period with a chance to stick a dagger into the Flames.
Instead, the Flames killed off the power plays and 1:47 later got on the board on a power-play goal from Daymond Langkow. Less than two minutes later, Kristian Huselius tied it, also on the power play.
The Flames took a 3-2 lead after the Hawks couldn't get a shot on a 3-on-2. Alex Tanguay beat Nikolai Khabibulin with 3:17 remaining.
"I think the guys got kind of [ticked] off," Keith said. "We were not only frustrated, but angry. That's how we have to respond all the time."
Defenseman Jim Vandermeer may be out for the season after suffering a broken bone near his right ankle. Vandermeer suffered the injury in the first period Friday against the Predators and will be out at least six weeks. ... The Hawks recalled Rene Bourque from his conditioning stint in Norfolk even though Bourque played just one game and wasn't able to play Saturday because of a sore ankle. Bourque has been out since suffering a cracked bone in his ankle Dec. 31. The Hawks plan on having Bourque available during the upcoming road trip. ... Peter Bondra was back in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 14. Bondra has been bothered with a sore shoulder suffered Dec. 29 against the Bruins. ... Defenseman Brent Seabrook played Sunday with a broken nose, which occurred Friday when he went face first into the boards after being checked by the Predators' Dan Hamhuis. Seabrook said Hamhuis called to apologize for the hit, which was shoulder-to-shoulder but caught Seabrook while he was off-balance. ... Goaltender Patrick Lalime dressed as Khabibulin's backup Sunday, the first time this season Lalime has dressed for a game. He's coming off a back injury suffered before the start of training camp.