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Thibault notches eighth shutout of season

PHOENIX (AP) -- Jocelyn Thibault used some extra practice time to
prepare himself for the Phoenix Coyotes.

Thibault made 21 saves for his eighth shutout of the season and
also stopped Mike Johnson's penalty shot as the Chicago Blackhawks
beat the Coyotes 4-0 on Friday night.

Johnson was awarded his first career penalty shot at 13:23 of
the second when he was pulled down from behind by Nathan Dempsey.
Johnson skated left then went wide to the right, but couldn't lift
the puck over Thibault's outstretched left pad.

"It's funny. I watched practice yesterday and watched Johnson
make that move,'' said Thibault, who has 35 career shutouts -- 27
with the Blackhawks. "I just tried to take the angle and any space
away from him and he ended up shooting it into my pad.''

Steve Sullivan scored a pair of power-play goals and Kyle Calder
also had a goal with the man-advantage for the Blackhawks, who are
3-11-0-2 in their last 16 games. The road victory was Chicago's
first since Feb. 15, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Tyler Arnason added an unassisted empty-net goal with 45.4
seconds remaining for the Blackhawks, who pulled even with Phoenix
for 10th place in the Western Conference with 67 points. Both trail
eighth-place Edmonton by nine points and ninth-place Nashville by
three.

"I'm not taking the high road, but I have no explanation for
the performance we put forth,'' said Phoenix coach Bob Francis,
whose Coyotes have lost two straight. "You have to give Chicago
credit. They played inspired hockey and we didn't for whatever
reason.''

Sullivan, who scored three goals in a 30-game span and none in
15 earlier this season, has seven goals in his last three games.

"Seven goals in nine periods? Maybe in pee-wees,'' Sullivan
said. "I couldn't score for 15 games. The puck wouldn't go in, so
I'll take this stretch for sure.''

Sullivan put Chicago ahead 1-0 at 7:38 of the first period when
he took a pass from Eric Daze at the blue line, took two strides
and beat Sean Burke from the right face-off circle.

Calder extended the lead to 2-0 just under four minutes later
off a rebound. Burke stopped Jon Klemm's first attempt, but
Calder's soft swipe at the puck bounced off the inside of Burke's
left leg for his 15th goal of the season.

Sullivan added his team-leading 23rd goal at 9:33 of the second
period, scoring off a pass from Dempsey moments after Theo Fleury
won a faceoff in the Phoenix zone.

"We knew before the game it was going to be a specialty teams
game,'' Sullivan said. "We scored three on the power play and
killed off seven, so that's what did it for us.''

Game notes
Johnson's penalty shot was Phoenix's first of the season
and the 21st in franchise history. The Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets have
scored on six of those attempts. ... Thibault has stopped two of
three penalty shots this season, five of eight for his career. ...
Sullivan's 23 goals mark the second-best total of his career. ...
Chicago is 5-17-2-2 in its last 26 games. ... The Coyotes, who have
two games in hand over Edmonton, play seven of their final 12 games
at America West Arena. ... The Blackhawks are 14-3-2-0 when leading
after the first period and 21-0-5-1 when leading after two.