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Chicago ends 12 years of frustration in New Jersey

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Chicago Blackhawks won their first game in New Jersey in more than 12 years with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Devils on Friday.

Jonathan Toews collected the only goal of the shootout after Chicago team mate Kris Versteeg's goal with just 26 seconds left in regulation canceled out Ilya Kovalchuk's first period opener and forced overtime.

The Blackhawks had not won in New Jersey since December 30, 1997.

Toews blasted the winner just over New Jersey netminder Martin Brodeur's left glove.

"I know that sometimes he likes to put his glove there and flash the leather up high," Toews told reporters.

"He'll give you the top glove and it's pretty appealing, so a lot of shooters shoot for it and he's waiting for it. I decided to take a chance."

Toews scored on the Blackhawks' first shootout opportunity against Brodeur, who finished with 25 saves. Chicago netminder Antti Niemi finished regulation and overtime with 32.

"He (Niemi) has been unbelievable all year for us," Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "He's won us some big games and he was great.

"He kept us in the game and gave our skilled forwards a chance to tie it," Seabrook added. "Then he played great in the shootout."

Versteeg's goal came from an off-balance slap shot that deflected off the stick and toe of defenseman Mike Mottau and went through the legs of Brodeur. Chicago had pulled Niemi in favor of an extra skater.

Brodeur said he was worried about the Devils giving up goals in the dying seconds of periods.

"It is a concern because I think we're going to play some tight games in the playoffs and losing games like that can change the momentum of a series," Brodeur said.

Kovalchuk's goal was his 40th of the season.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)