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Devils--B'hawks End In A Draw


Unlike the New Jersey Devils, the Chicago Blackhawks aren't fighting for a division title and home-ice advantage in the playoffs. They're fighting for jobs and their interim coach, Lorne Molleken.

Alexei Zhamnov set up three goals and Eric Daze scored on a great move in the third period as the Blackhawks posted their second straight tie on the road, 4-4 against the Devils Saturday.

Jason Arnott saved the Devils from a home loss to one of the league's weaker teams by beating goalie Mark Fitzpatrick with a backhander in close just 21 seconds after Daze gave Chicago the lead.

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  • "We're playing for pride right now," said Fitzpatrick, who preserved the tie with five saves in overtime. "Most of all, the guys are playing for the new coach. He's been a breath of fresh air. The players are battling every night and it shows. The players are playing because they want him back next year."

    Chicago, which is virtually mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, is 5-5-4 since Molleken replaced Dirk Graham last month.

    "Our guys competed very hard against an excellent team," Molleken said. "Our guys are starting to believe in themselves that they can play with the best teams."

    The Blackhawks dominated the first period but the Devils came on strong at the end in rallying from a 3-2 deficit after two periods.

    "It was a good point," Arnott said after scoring his 24th goal and fifth in the last seven games. "We battled back, got a point and we're going to take that as a positive."

    Brendan Morrison, Ken Sutton and Petr Sykora also scored for New Jersey, 8-3-2 in its last 13 games. Jamie Allison, Ed Olczyk and Dave Manson also scored for Chicago.

    Daze gave Chicago a 4-3 lead at 8:52 of the third period with a shot between Chris Terreri's legs after a great inside-out move at the blueline.

    Arnott tied the score by coming from behind the neafter Sykora was stopped in close on the left side. His shot hit off Fitzpatrick, then deflected into the net off a Blackhawks player.

    "Maybe we had a little letdown in our mind because they are so low in the standings, but the players on that team are fighting not for this year but next year," Devils center Bobby Holik said. "They have players fighting to stay in this league and that made them go a lot more."

    Morrison had tied the score 3-3 at 1:02 of the third period with a backhander from the left faceoff circle that Fitzpatrick appeared to misplay.

    The Devils twice capitalized on great saves by Terreri to take the lead, but the Blackhawks came back each time with Allison tying the score 1-1 in the first period and Olczyk and Manson scoring 4:16 apart in the second to put Chicago ahead 3-2.

    A breakout pass by Zhamnov sent Tony Amonte into the Devils' zone. He stopped and found Manson for his fourth goal of the season at 16:32.

    Olczyk had tied the score 2-2 with a power-play shot from the left circle over the shoulder of Terreri, who was starting for the first time in 13 games since Feb. 19.

    Sutton gave the Devils a 2-1 lead with his first NHL goal since March 29, 1995. Seconds after Terreri stopped Daze in close, Sutton took a drop pass from Sergei Brylin and scored from the left circle.

    Sykora opened the scoring at 3:49 of the first period, beating Fitzpatrick on a breakaway after Terreri stopped Olczyk one-on-one at the other end. Allison tied the score at 8:52 with a floater from the left point past a screened Terreri.

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