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Blackhawks continue sharp play - beat Islanders 5-2

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks appreciated the New York Islanders' generosity.

Islanders coach Rick Bowness wasn't as grateful - such mistake-filled play by his team could eventually cost him his job.

Steve Dubinsky scored a shorthanded goal and set up another, both on mistakes by talented but overzealous defenseman Bryan Berard, as Chicago beat New York 5-2 on Tuesday night.

"We made a lot of stupid decisions at the blue line, unbelievably stupid decisions," said Bowness, whose club is 1-11-1 in the last month. "(Berard) has to learn to make better decisions. He's 20 years old; what are you going to do? Right now, every time he makes a mistake at the blue line, it's in our net."

The Islanders' sloppiness - they've allowed an NHL-high 10 shorthanded goals - is one of many reasons general manager Mike Milbury put Bowness on job "alert" 10 days ago.

Thanks to their largess, the Blackhawks won despite playing only marginally well themselves.

"That was far from perfect, but we'll take it," Dubinsky said. ``It was one of those games where we took advantage of all of our opportunities."

A shorthanded goal is always significant because it gives the scoring team a big boost while demoralizing the opponent. Two of them?

"It really drives a stake into the other team's heart," said Gary Suter, who scored on Dubinsky's pass at 3:39 of the third period for a 4-1 lead. "Their defensemen are real active and sometimes they get caught out of position. Their strength is also their weakness."

Dubinsky gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead at 10:54 of the first period. Teammate Jeff Shantz deflected Berard's pass right to Dubinsky and then set a pick on Kenny Jonsson to clear an entire side of the ice. Dubinsky's wrist shot from the left circle beat Wade Flaherty between the pads.

Berard, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, won't change his style.

"I'm just trying to do what I can to get the team going," he said. ``If I make a mistake, I make a mistake. I'm going to take chances like that."

Amonte, Eric Daze and Dmitri Nabokov added goals for the Blackhawks, who have won four of their last five games and are 9-3-3 since Dec. 17.

Dubinsky has only four goals and nine assists, but is the kind of hard-working player who has helped the Blackhawks move within one victory of .500 (19-20-9) after an 0-7 start.

"If we do our jobs, good things are going to happen," Dubinsky said of the role players. "Being down, losing the first seven ... getting back to .500 would be huge for us."

Chicago's Jeff Hackett stopped 21 of 22 shots before leaving with 15:29 to play because of legs cramps. He is expected back Thursday night. Andrei Trefilov finished Tuesday night's game.

Daze's goal at 14:05 of the first period gave Chicago a 3-0 lead on eight shots and resulted in Bowness benching Flaherty for Tommy Salo.

"Three goals on eight shots," Bowness said. ``That's enough.''

Todd Bertuzzi and Paul Kruse scored for thIslanders, who are 0-7-1 at Chicago since 1991.

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