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Aebischer makes 26 saves to lead Colorado

DENVER (AP) -- During a five-game stretch at home earlier this
month, the Colorado Avalanche surrendered an average of four goals
per game, contributing to their home-ice woes.

So it was back to basics and an emphasis on defense, which the
Avalanche used to perfection Monday night in a 1-0 win over the
Chicago Blackhawks.

Dan Hinote scored with 8:37 remaining, and David Aebischer had
26 saves as Colorado won at home for only the second time this
season.

Colorado, 2-4-4-1 on home ice, is unbeaten in its past four
games (2-0-2-0).

It was Aebischer's sixth career shutout and the first by an
Avalanche goaltender this season. It also was Aebischer's first
career shutout at home.

"As a team we played well defensively,'' Aebischer said, "and
that makes my job easier. The last couple of games we've played
good defense, and the results are 3-1 and 1-0 wins.''

Hinote said the Avalanche "put a lot of emphasis on defense
tonight. When you are struggling like we have been, you have to go
back to basics, and that means defense.

"David played a great game. He's been tremendous even though
his record (2-5-0) might not show it. He's kept us in a lot of
games that we've played terrible in.''

Chicago, which has lost the first four games of its seven-game
road trip, got 23 saves from Jocelyn Thibault.

Hinote scored his second goal after winning a faceoff in the
Chicago end. Rob Blake took a shot from the point, and Hinote, who
skated to the front of the net, punched in the rebound -- one of the
few allowed by either goalie.

"The faceoff was a lucky draw,'' Hinote said. "It's my job to
get to the net on those plays. It was a great shot from the point,
and the rebound came out. I just got lucky, like usual.''

Thibault said he didn't see Blake's shot.

"I just went down in the butterfly and the rebound went right
to his (Hinote's) stick,'' he said. "That's the way things have
been going for us the last couple of games.''

Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter called it a disappointing game to
lose. "The only difference was a lost faceoff, and they got the
puck to the net and got a rebound. We had chances in the other end.
Both goalies were very good.''

The Blackhawks got some good news, however, after the game.
Forward Theoren Fleury, who hasn't played this season because of
ongoing substance-abuse problems, has been cleared to resume
practicing with the team. He will join the team Tuesday in Phoenix.

"It's great to hear that he's coming with us,'' wing Scott
Sullivan said. "We could use some goal scoring right now.''

Chicago outshot Colorado 9-5 in a first period during which each
team had one power play. The Blackhawks had the best scoring
opportunity late in the period when, following a turnover, Eric
Daze shot from point-blank range, but Aebischer made the stop.

Both goalies stepped up their play in the second period.

Eric Messier had a shot on Thibault that the Avalanche thought
went across the goal line, although no goal was signaled. It was
reviewed by the video goal judge, and replays were inconclusive.

Aebischer had a nice save on Sullivan's quick break midway
through the period.

Thibault had consecutive saves off Blake, Martin Skoula and
Derek Morris.

Colorado had a power-play opportunity early in the third period
when Steve Poapst went off for slashing. But the Avs' Milan Hejduk
was whistled for interference 23 seconds later.

Game notes
The Avalanche were without forward Steven Reinprecht, who
is on the injured list with a shoulder injury. Center Vaclav
Nedorost was scratched because of a shoulder injury. ... Blackhawks
center Alexei Zhamnov, who left Saturday's game against Calgary
with a leg injury, was back on the ice Monday night. ... It was
Colorado's first shutout since April 3, when Patrick Roy blanked
Atlanta.