Thibault sharp as Hawks handle Wild

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Jocelyn Thibault made it clear that he's the Chicago Blackhawks' No. 1 goalie.

Starting for the first time since March 20, Thibault stopped 18 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Sunday.

"It's been a while since I won a game, so it feels great," Thibault said. "The guys played a real solid game in front of me. I feel like we are rolling again."

Thibault (31-21-9) has played in 63 of the team's 75 games, but had gone 1-5-2 since the Olympic break while backup Steve Passmore started and won three straight games.


"Joce was sharp," Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. "He was very good. "Steve's played very well, and I've said all along we are going to need them both. We are in the middle of a lot of games in a short period of time."

Tony Amonte scored his 350th goal and assisted on Alex Zhamnov's goal in the first period to provide all the scoring Chicago needed to defeat the defense-first Wild.

Amonte one-timed a pass from Zhamnov at 5:48 of the third period. Zhamnov beat Brad Bombardir to a loose puck along the near boards and fed Amonte, who beat goalie Manny Fernandez high on the glove side for the forward's 25th goal of the season.

"It was nice to get that two-goal lead for a little while," said Amonte.

Zhamnov opened the scoring at 18:11 in the first period. After taking a pass along the far boards from Kyle Calder, Zhamnov fired the puck over Fernandez's shoulder.

"I couldn't see what was happening," said Fernandez. "I didn't know if he was passing or shooting."

Jason Marshall ended Thibault's shutout bid at 8:34 of the third. Richard Park carried the puck into Chicago's zone and sent a cross-ice pass by a sliding Joe Reekie to Marshall, who shot the puck under Thibault.

"Richard Park made an outstanding pass," Marshall said. "I got fortunate."


Marshall's fifth goal gave his team some lift, but the Blackhawks were able to keep the lead.

"Too bad we didn't get that goal earlier," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "After that we controlled the rest of the game."

Marian Gaborik nearly tied the game with 1.8 seconds left, but his shot bounced off the outside of the goal post.

Notes: Zhamnov has points in six consecutive games. ... Chicago's Steve Thomas missed the game because of the flu. ... Chicago is 20-2-2 when leading after the second period. ... The Wild are 7-5-1-2 since the Olympic break.

Blackhawks 2, Wild 1

Minnesota 0 0 1 --; 1

; Chicago 1 0 1 --; 2

; First Period-- 1, Chicago, Zhamnov 22 (Calder, Amonte), 18:11.


Second Period-- No scoring.

Third Period-- 2, Chicago, Amonte 25 (Zhamnov), 5:48. 3, Minnesota, Marshall 5 (Park, Schultz), 8:34.

Shots on goal-- Minnesota 6-6-7-- 19. Chicago 10-11-4-- 25.

Goalies-- Minnesota, Fernandez. Chicago, Thibault. A-- 14,835 (20,500).

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