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Savard hedges on goalie vs. Caps
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane (88) scores past New York Rangers goalie Henrk Lundqvist, of Sweden, during the first period of their hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Friday.

 

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Published: 10/10/2008 10:29 PM

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NEW YORK - Blackhawks coach Denis Savard wasn't ready to name a starting goalie for tonight's game in Washington against the Capitals following Friday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers.

Cristobal Huet started the opener and was neither great nor awful in his Hawks' debut, outplayed by the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist.

"He was OK, you know," Savard said of Huet. "Obviously, when you have a goalie like Lindqvist who played like he did it kind of takes away from what Cristo did."

Huet made 25 saves, but if there was 1 goal he might like to have back it would be the first. Huet surrendered a big rebound of Chris Drury's shot to Wade Redden for the goal, although Jack Skille missed the check on Redden.

"It's not the end result we wanted," Huet said. "It's disappointing to lose the first game. I think we made some mistakes and myself, I didn't help the team at the moment the team needed me."

If Savard doesn't start Huet against his former Capitals teammates, it would Nikolai Khabibulin's first game of the year. Khabibulin didn't appear in one preseason game.

Savard said his decision to start Huet against the Rangers was partly the result of Khabibulin's inactivity in the exhibition season.

Injury report: The Hawks didn't escape Friday's loss unscathed, health-wise. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson suffered what Denis Savard called an "upper body" injury in the first period.

"We'll evaluate tonight how he is and give you guys some news tomorrow," Savard said.

After Hjalmarsson went out, Savard put Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook back together as defense partners. Seabrook started the game with Hjalmarsson and Keith with Brian Campbell.

Two-minute warning: Denis Savard isn't opposed to keeping power-play quarterback Brian Campbell on the ice for the full two minutes of the man-advantage situation.

"He's going to play enough minutes so it's going to vary in games," Savard said. "It depends on how many power plays we get. At the start he'll go for his minute, minute 10, and we're OK with that. Eventually there's a chance he might be staying out there a little longer."

The power play went 0-for-3 in Friday's loss, with Campbell logging 3:44 of his 29-plus minutes.

Tip-ins: The Hawks haven't won at Madison Square Garden since December 2002. ... The Hawks were outhit 44-31, with Andrew Ladd credited with 6. ... Ladd, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Jack Skille were minus-2.