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Associated Press
10/12/2006 11:26:51 PM

CHICAGO (AP) - Jeff Hamilton scored on a tip-in with 7:40 left in the third period to snap a tie as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Thursday night.

Hamilton redirected Bryan Smolinski's cross-ice pass just under the outstretched glove of Nashville goalie Chris Mason.
Chicago's Martin Havlat scored into an empty net with 36 seconds left.

Michal Handzus also scored for Chicago (2-1-0), while Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves.

Jason Arnott scored for the Predators (0-3-0).

Mason made his first start, spelling starting goalie Tomas Vokoun, and made 28 saves.

The Blackhawks and Predators entered the game with the two highest goals-against averages in the NHL. Chicago's was 5.50 through two games; Nashville's 7.00 through two.

Handzus had the lone goal of the first period, at 4:57, completing a give-and-go with linemate Radim Vrbata.

After Handzus dropped the puck for Vrbata on right wing, he cut to the edge of the crease. When both Nashville defencemen committed to Vrbata, he dished the puck back to Handzus, who was wide open.

Arnott tied it at one at 5:31 of the third, spoiling Khabibulin's bid for his first shutout as a Blackhawk.

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