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Associated Press
12/1/2006 11:41:15 PM


CHICAGO (AP) - Tuomo Ruutu scored his fifth goal in six games and Nikolai Khabibulin made 29 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

Chicago won its second straight, improving to 2-0 under new head coach Denis Savard, who replaced Trent Yawney on Monday.

Jeff Hamilton, Tony Salmelainen, Mikael Holmqvist and Martin Lapointe also scored for the Blackhawks, who dealt the Blues their fourth consecutive loss. Holmqvist and Lapointe scored empty-net goals in the final minute.

Khabibulin lost a bid for his first shutout as a Blackhawk - and first in regular-season play since March 1, 2004, while with Tampa Bay - when Blues defenceman Dennis Wideman scored a power-play goal 34 seconds into the third period.

St. Louis' Bill Guerin scored late in the third.

Blues starting goalie Curtis Sanford left the game just 6:15 in after suffering an leg injury that led to the game's opening goal - by Hamilton - on Chicago's third shot.

Manny Legace took over in nets, allowing two goals on 27 shots.

Sanford crumpled to the ice just over six minutes into the first period as he moved to block Patrick Sharp's shot, which sailed just wide of the left post. Seconds later, Hamilton picked up the loose rebound and tucked it into the unguarded net to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.

Sanford had to be helped from the ice.

Ruutu gave Chicago a 2-0 lead just over a minute later, scoring on the first shot against Legace. He connected through goalmouth traffic on a high wrist shot from the left circle.

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