Havlat returns after injuring shoulder in first game

Updated: November 28, 2007, 11:07 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Martin Havlat didn't miss a beat.

The Chicago Blackhawks activated the right wing from injured reserve in time for their first game at the United Center in 2 weeks, facing the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning.

Havlat then scored on his first shift, converting a 2-on-1 with a slick backhander, to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. He wasn't done. With the Hawks up 2-0, Havlat took a feed off the opening faceoff of the second period and drove home a slapshot for his second goal of the game and season. The Blackhawks won the game 5-1.

Chicago (12-9-2) is coming off a 2-0 loss to Vancouver on Sunday, but still came away with points in four of six games during its extended road trip, going 2-2-2. The Blackhawks were just 4-17-2 over the last four seasons during the annual November trip that's caused by the circus taking over the United Center.

"I'm really proud of our guys, the fact we're going to battle and teams that want to battle with us, we'll be right there with them," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We were challenged early and we responded."

The Blackhawks get back to their home ice with Havlat, who had been out since injuring his shoulder in their season-opening 1-0 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 4.

Havlat led Chicago with 25 goals and 32 assists last season despite being limited to 56 games because of injuries to his right ankle, groin and shoulder. He has five goals and eight assists in his last 10 games against Tampa Bay.

This was Nikolai Khabibulin's first game versus the Lightning (10-11-2) since he led them to a Stanley Cup title in 2004, going 16-7-0 with a 1.71 goals-against average and five shutouts in the playoffs. The only game between these teams since he left Tampa Bay via free agency came on Dec. 2, 2005 -- a 3-2 shootout loss -- and Khabibulin was given the night off.

Khabibulin went 2-0-2 with a 2.70 goals-against average during Chicago's road trip. He is 5-1-2 with a 2.97 GAA since Oct. 31.

Tampa Bay, which has not visited Chicago since snapping an eight-game winless streak in the series with a 5-3 win on March 3, 2004, lost 3-2 to New Jersey on Saturday to drop its fourth straight game.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.