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 after he helped San Jose beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Wednesday 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 every more special.
“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.”
“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, who 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 said.
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,” Toskala said.
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 catch up.”
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, and slid it past Leighton. Marleau, playing in his 500th game, recorded a point in his career-high ninth straight.
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 due to a groin injury. … Sharks C Wayne Primeau was also 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 that San Jose has a winning record against (22-19-4-3). … Damphousse has 69 points in 68 career gamesagainst the Blackhawks.