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Canadian Press
2/8/2007 12:53:03 AM


VANCOUVER (CP) - Adrian Aucoin broke a scoreless tie late in the second period and Patrick Lalime made a successful debut in Chicago's net as the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Wednesday night.

Lalime, making his first NHL start this season after undergoing back surgery for a herniated disc in September, stymied the Canucks with 34-save performance to earn his 34th career shutout.

Aucoin's go-ahead goal that helped end his club's winless streak against the Canucks at six games was a strange one and came unassisted 36 minutes 14 seconds into the game.

His shot hit the stick of Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa and bounced into the net over goalie Roberto Luongo, who was flat on his back.

Luongo had been flopping around his crease trying to corral a loose puck that was eventually cleared by defenceman Willie Mitchell, but it went to Aucoin at the Canuck blue-line.

Radim Vrbata and Martin Havlat clinched the victory with empty-net tallies in the final minute.

Chicago (21-26-7), which last beat Vancouver on March 19, 2004, also denied Vancouver first place in the Northwest Division.

The Canucks (30-21-4) remained a point behind the idle Calgary Flames who have two games in hand.

Chicago defeated Calgary in a shootout on Tuesday and have won four of their last five games, but need to make up ground in a hurry if they are to contend for a playoff spot.

Lalime was tested with 12 shots in the scoreless, sluggish first period but Luongo had the tougher saves.

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