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Winless streak reaches four games for Wild

12/27/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- Theo Fleury picked an opportune time to snap a
goal drought.

Fleury, who had gone five games without scored, put in a rebound
at 3:06 of the third period to lift the Chicago Blackhawks into a
2-2 tie with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks extended their unbeaten streak to four games
(3-0-1).

Standing at the edge of the crease, Fleury stuffed the puck into
the net after Dwayne Roloson made a pad save on Alex Zhamnov's shot
from the slot.

"I hadn't scored a goal in a while," Fleury said. "It just
came right to me and I had an open net. If I miss that, I'd better
quit."

Despite netting the game-tying goal, Fleury was upset about not
converting Zhamnov's centering pass during a Chicago power play
midway through the third.

"Alex made a great pass," Fleury said. "Unfortunately, I had
the game-winner on my stick and missed."

Sergei Berezin also scored for the Blackhawks, 6-1-2 in their
last nine games.

Wes Walz and Stephane Veilleux had goals for the Wild, whose
winless streak reached four games (0-3-1). However, Wild coach
Jacques Lemaire was encouraged by his team's effort.

"I think we played much better than the last two games,"
Lemaire said. "We played the same for three periods and we could
have won the game."

Chicago's Jocelyn Thibault made 24 saves. Roloson turned away 22
shots.

"It's been a long time since we played a good 60 minutes
together," Walz said. "We're happy with how things went."

The Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the power play and have converted
just one of their last 40 chances. The Wild went 0-for-4 on the
power play.

Berezin opened the scoring at 2:57 of the second period, one
second after a Chicago power play expired. From the edge of the
crease, he swept in a rebound of Eric Daze's shot after Roloson
made a pad save.

Walz tied it 1-1 with a one-timer from the slot with 8:30 left
in the second. He beat Thibault on the stick side after taking
Andrew Brunette's pass from behind the net.

Veilleux gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead with 5:12 left in the period.
Despite being knocked to the ice by Chicago's Lyle Odelein,
Veilleux managed to direct in Richard Park's pass from behind the
net.

Fleury then tied it again after Zhamnov fired a rebound of
Odelein's shot from the point. Zhamnov's rebound came to Fleury,
who scored his fourth goal in his 10th game this season.

Three of those goals, however, came in Fleury's first four
contests following a 25-game suspension.

Chicago's Steve Thomas had a prime scoring chance with 20
seconds left in overtime after he stole the puck from Minnesota's
Marian Gaborik.

Game notes
Blackhawks D Jon Klemm missed his second game because of a
fractured left index finger. He's expected to return late next
week. ... Chicago C Andrei Nikolishin returned to the lineup after
missing 13 games with a strained knee. ... The crowd of 18,863 was
the Blackhawks' largest this season. ... Minnesota D Brad Bombardir
missed the game because of a concussion, sustained Monday in the
Wild's 3-2 loss to Calgary.

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