SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Christian Ehrhoff already has a spot
picked out for the puck he used to score his first NHL goal.
"I'm going to put it in a special place at home," Ehrhoff said
night and extend the Sharks' season-best winning streak to three
games. "It was awesome, a great experience. I've had chances
before and failed. Now I'm pretty happy."
Ehrhoff was presented with the puck by fellow German player
Marco Sturm, making the moment even more special.
stretched their unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2) and reached
the .500 mark (6-6-8-2) for the first time since Dec. 30.
"We've been plodding along for quite some time," San Jose
coach Ron Wilson said. "Some nights you play well and don't get
rewarded with a win. Now we're playing well and points are showing
up for us."
It was also San Jose's second straight win at home after going
winless (0-3-5-1) in its first nine games there.
"We needed the first one to help us get going," Ehrhoff said.
"Hopefully we can take this momentum and keep it going."
winless in nine games (0-5-1-3). Chicago hadn't had a streak that
long since an 0-7-0-2 stretch Feb. 17-March 7 last season.
"We're having some problems letting down at the wrong time,"
Nichol said. "We're right on the cusp of turning it around. When
we do, we'll string more than two or three together."
San Jose took a 1-0 lead with 18:40 remaining in the second
period. Vincent Damphousse skated down the middle with the puck and
passed to Ehrhoff in the right circle. When goalie Michael Leighton
came out to challenge him, Ehrhoff centered a pass to a wide-open
Dimitrakos at the top of crease and Dimitrakos one-timed a shot into an open net.
"The goalie went with me, and all I had to do was wait for Niko
to come into position before I passed," Ehrhoff said.
Chicago responded 44 seconds later when Dempsey picked up his
own rebound and beat Vesa Toskala to the right side.
"I feel more comfortable now because I've been playing a lot,"
Toskala made 23 saves in his fifth straight start in place of
Evgeni Nabokov, out with a groin injury.
"It's different than when you're playing every second week,"
Ekman gave the Sharks the lead with 4:17 remaining in the second
period when he squeezed the puck past Leighton after taking a pass
from behind the net from Alyn McCauley. Sturm dug the puck out of
the corner to set up the play, recording a point in his career-best
seventh straight contest.
"It seemed like it was wave after wave of shooters," Leighton
said. "We just weren't catching them. We dominated the third
period, but it was too late to play catchup."
Ehrhoff scored with 1:42 left in the second period. He took a
pass from Patrick Marleau, held onto the puck until the defense
committed, then slid it past Leighton. Marleau, playing in his 500th
game, recorded a point in his career-high ninth straight game.
Nichol scored with 2:49 remaining, redirecting a shot by Tuomo Ruutu.
The MLS champion San Jose Earthquakes were honored during
the first intermission. ... Chicago D Bryan Berard was back in the
lineup after missing a game with a groin injury. ... Sharks C
Wayne Primeau also was back in the lineup -- after missing two games
and four of the previous five with a hip injury. ... Chicago is the
only Original Six franchise San Jose has a winning record
against (22-19-4-3). ... Damphousse has 69 points in 68 career
games against the Blackhawks.