Final

Series (Game 1 of 1)

San Jose leads 1-0

Game 1: Saturday, December 10th
Hurricanes3Final
Sharks4

Hurricanes 3

(18-9-2, 38 pts)

Sharks 4

(13-12-4, 30 pts)

10:30 PM ET, December 10, 2005

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
CAR 0 1 23
SJ 0 2 24

J. Thornton (Sharks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

N. Ekman (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Cheechoo (Sharks - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

Thornton, Sharks stay hot with fifth straight win

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Five games into his Sharks career, center Joe Thornton already owns a team record. Welcome to San Jose.

"You just hope to come in and help win games," Thornton said after scoring a goal and recording three assists in the Sharks' 4-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night. "This team has a lot of confidence right now and it's been fun playing out here."

Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice and Nils Ekman also had a goal for the Sharks, who have won five straight.

Rod Brind'Amour, Eric Staal and Craig Adams scored for the Southeast Division-leading Hurricanes, who had won two consecutive in California.

The Sharks are undefeated since obtaining Thornton from Boston on Nov. 30. The former Bruins captain joined the team in Buffalo and immediately helped them end a 10-game winless streak. He has two goals and 10 assists in five games with San Jose, all victories.

He extended his multipoint streak to a team record five games.

"He's a gifted passer," Cheechoo said of his new teammate. "He always puts it flat for you and it's easy to shoot those. A couple happened to find the net."

Thornton was involved in all four goals. He scored his 11th with 15:53 remaining in the second period to put the Sharks ahead 1-0.

Carolina tied it just over two minutes later on Brind'Amour's 10th goal and his eighth on a power play. Cory Stillman extended his scoring streak to six games when he passed the puck to Brind'Amour from behind the net.

"We put a lot of pressure on them in the first period," Stillman said. "Then we took penalties and they made us pay."

Cheechoo scored his first goal with 6:39 left in the second period, one-timing a shot past goalie Martin Gerber after taking a cross-ice pass from Thornton.

"This team has made me feel comfortable from the get-go," Thornton said. "Cheechoo is shooting the puck so well right now. It's been a nice change and I welcomed it."

The Sharks struck again with 14:54 left. Thornton picked up a loose puck along the right boards, skated in and punched a couple shots into Gerber's pads. The puck trickled free. Ekman, skating hard from the left, had an easy shot just inside the crease.

"I haven't been playing well this season," Ekman said. "But the trade kind of scared me. I don't want to be traded. I want to be part of this team. I'm feeling better and getting things done."

Cheechoo added a power-play goal 32 seconds later. Thornton had the puck along the boards, and while he was tripped up he managed to float it toward the middle. Ekman pushed the puck to Cheechoo, who fired a shot from the slot.

"We got into penalty trouble and lost it from there," Adams said. "We couldn't make anything work."

The Hurricanes scored twice in the final 12:23 to make it close. Staal scored a shorthanded goal to get Carolina within 4-2. After Erik Cole carried the puck into the corner, Staal picked it up and put a shot between Evgeni Nabokov's pads.

With just under three minutes left, Chad LaRose intercepted a pass from Kyle McLaren and put a shot toward the goal that Adams redirected in.

Carolina managed to kill off two five-on-three penalties in the first period and have turned aside all eight two-man disadvantages this season.

Game notes


Sharks center Patrick Marleau was given an assist in a late scoring change and now has 11 assists in five games. ... Brind'Amour took an interference penalty in the first period to reach 900 career penalty minutes. ... Sharks left winger Scott Thornton, Joe's cousin, has an assist in three straight games. ... The Hurricanes have scored nine power-play goals in six games. ... Carolina right winger Justin Williams was in the starting lineup after missing practice on Friday with soreness in his left foot. ... Sharks center Alyn McCauley had his six-game point streak stopped. ... The Sharks improved to 5-0 against the Eastern Conference.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES