SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Less than five months after graduating from college, Tom Preissing graduated to a new level with his first NHL goal.
“It’s kind of something you dream about,” said Preissing, who helped lead Colorado College to the NCAA Frozen Four in the winter. “Every time I step on the ice it’s a special experience for me.”
Preissing knocked in a rebound in front of the net, beating Chicago goalie Jocelyn Thibault to the stick side with 11:57 remaining in regulation for a power-play goal that tied it. Brad Stuart took the long shot from just inside the blue line.
“I saw Stuey winding up for the shot and I was there looking for exactly what happened,” Preissing said. “The puck was sitting there for me and the Red Sea parted a little bit.”
McLean, playing in just his sixth career game, had one goal in his previous five.
“It was huge to come back,” McLean said. “We knew that we had to win the second period. We had to at least get one goal and make it a game. Fortunately we got three.”
The Blackhawks have scored 11 goals in their past five games, but have allowed 17.
After scoring one goal in their previous three home games, the Sharks needed a span of 50 seconds in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
Blackhawks defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev was trying to clear the puck around the boards but slipped a shot past Thibault into his own net with 15:45 remaining in the first period. Marleau, who was in on the faceoff, was credited with the power-play goal.
“We couldn’t score so they had to score,” Sharks forward Marco Sturm said. “It was a lucky break but I think we deserved it. We didn’t have a lot of luck the last couple of games.”
Neither team knew what to think right away.
“I think everybody was shocked,” Thibault said. “Even the Sharks didn’t celebrate right away. When your own player has the puck, I don’t think that I have to make a save. I saw the puck go in and I did not react at all.”
Less than a minute later, Sturm set up Ekman’s goal after skating down the right side and passing across the front of the net. Ekman one-timed it past Thibault to the stick side.
“Finally we scored and that’s the important thing,” Sturm said.
Chicago closed the gap to 2-1 with 16:16 left in the second period. Steve Sullivan, who has a four-game point scoring streak set up McLean’s first goal, on the power play.
“Sully just made a great play backchecking and picked the puck off,” McLean said. “When you are on a two-on-one with him, I just make sure that I get my stick open because chances are, he is going to hit it.”
Chicago took the lead 46 seconds later after Sullivan picked up a turnover, skated up the right side and passed across the front of the net to McLean, who one-timed a shot past Nabokov into the left side of the net for a short-handedgoal.
Karpovtsev was struck in the throat on a play in front of the Blackhawks net late in the first period and didn’t return. … Sharks C Wayne Primeau, who practiced Wednesday on a limited basis, was scratched because of a sore groin for a third straight game. … Chicago LW Eric Daze missed his fourth consecutive game due to a sore back. … San Jose’s 15 shots in thefirst period were a season high.