Series (Game 1 of 2)

Chicago leads 1-0

Game 1: Sunday, October 13th
Game 2: Friday, December 13th

Sabres 0

(2-1-0, 4 pts)

Blackhawks 3

(1-1-0, 2 pts)

8:00 PM ET, October 13, 2002

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
BUF 0 0 00
CHI 1 2 03

Top Skaters

Thibault makes 26 saves for first shutout of year

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jocelyn Thibault saw everything the Buffalo Sabres fired at him -- except one shot.

Jocelyn Thibault

And that one, by Miroslav Satan during a Buffalo power play with 28 seconds left, hit the post.

Thibault finished with 26 saves for his 28th career shutout as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Sabres 3-0 on Sunday night.

"We did a great job. I could see all the shots except Satan's poster at the end,'' Thibault said. "We played a solid defensive game tonight.''

Jon Klemm, Tyler Arnason and Alex Zhamnov scored goals to help the Blackhawks rebound from a season-opening 2-1 loss at Columbus on Friday night.

"We were a little more aggressive,'' Zhamnov said. "We shot the puck more and it always helped to have guys driving to the net''

The Sabres were shut out after scoring 11 goals in opening victories over the New York Islanders and Montreal. Buffalo beat the Canadiens 6-1 on Saturday night.

"We knew they would be coming,'' Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "You've got to give Chicago credit. They're playing the type of game we went into Montreal and played. They did a lot of pinching, a lot of puck pressure. We were a step behind them.''

Thibault made one of his toughest saves midway through the third period when he stopped J.P. Dumont on a breakaway with the toe of his skate. The goalie also made several other close-in stops late in the game, but his teammates were there for support.

"My defense and forwards helped me out by coming back and getting rebounds for me.'' Thibault said. "Our guys also blocked a lot of shots.''

Klemm opened the scoring just 1:26 into the game. He pinched in from the right point, took a behind-the-net feed from Steve Sullivan and beat goalie Martin Biron.

Arnason and Alex Zhamnov scored 2:54 apart early in the second.

Arnason connected on a power play at 4:04, sweeping a shot from a sharp angle past Biron. Zhamnov added a short-handed goal, completing a 2-on-1 break with Garry Valk.

Biron finished with 29 saves.

Game notes

Thibault also had a shutout in the home opener last season, blanking Phoenix 3-0. ... The Sabres were 0-for-7 on the power play, while the Blackhawks were 1-for-8. ... Blackhawks rookie Shawn Thornton earned his first NHL point with an assist on Klemm's goal. ... Aranason was rookie of the year in the American Hockey League last season. He had 26 goals and 30 assists in 60 games for Norfolk.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press