Dustin Byfuglien led Chicago to its franchise-record ninth straight victory, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over host Minnesota yesterday.

Chicago broke the team record of eight straight victories set in December 1971 and matched in January 1981.

Martin Havlat and Kris Versteeg also scored, and Cristobal Huet made 18 saves, allowing only Cal Clutterbuck's third-period goal.

Chicago trails Detroit by four points in the Central Division with two games in hand. They will play tomorrow night in Detroit and Thursday in Chicago in the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

As they did against the Flyers, Chicago charged to an early two-goal lead.

Byfuglien scored off a scramble 7 minutes in, then tipped Duncan Keith's slap shot for a power-play goal 2 1/2 minutes later. Chicago held an 11-2 shots advantage at that point, and outshot Minnesota 32-19 overall.

Chicago is averaging 4.44 goals during its winning streak, but as smooth as it's been offensively with its skating and tape-to-tape passes, its defense has been equally adept, allowing an average of 1.33 goals in the winning streak.

In other games yesterday:

* At Atlanta, Michael Ryder broke a tie with 6 minutes, 4 seconds left, and the Boston Bruins beat the Thrashers 2-1 to extend their wining streak to eight games and tie San Jose for the overall NHL lead with 58 points.

Ryder converted a perfect lead pass from David Krejci to beat goalie Kari Lehtonen for his 14th goal and second winner in 2 nights. On Saturday in Carolina, Ryder scored the go-ahead goal with 6:14 left in the Bruins' 4-2 victory. Phil Kessel scored his 22nd goal, and Manny Fernandez made 32 saves, allowing only Bryan Little's first-period goal.

The winning streak is Boston's longest since the final eight games of the 1992-93 season.

* At St. Louis, Bobby Ryan scored on a power play with 7:11 to play, and Anaheim snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Blues.

Scott and Rob Niedermayer and Steve Montador also scored, Ryan Getzlaf had two assists, and goalie Jonas Hiller made 27 saves in the Ducks' fourth consecutive 4-3 game.

* At Washington,Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, his 24th and 25th of the season, including the tiebreaker with 10 seconds left in the second period, Brooks Laich also scored twice, and the Capitals beat Toronto, 4-1, to improve their home record to an Eastern Conference-best 15-1-1. Washington moved ahead of the New York Rangers with 50 points to take over second place in the East behind the Boston Bruins.

* At Vancouver, Curtis Sanford earned the shutout with 18 saves, Pavol Demitra and Henrik Sedin each has a goal and an assist, and the Canucks blanked Ottawa, 3-0.

* At Edmonton, Dwayne Roloson made 28 saves, and Eric Cole had a goal and two assists in the Oilers' 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers. *