Sharks jump ahead early, win third straight


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Good starts usually mean good games for the San Jose Sharks.

Niklas Sundstrom and Scott Thornton each had a goal and assist
to lead the Sharks to a 4-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night for their third straight win.

Patrick Marleau and Owen Nolan also scored for the Sharks, who
improved to 18-1-2 when leading after the first period.

"We're a pretty good team when we get the lead," said Nolan. "We play a good style after that and seem to find our comfort level."

San Jose goalie Evgeni Nabokov stopped 26 of 28 shots for his
57th career victory, matching Arturs Irbe for the franchise record.
Nabokov could move into the top spot by himself in front of Irbe,
who comes to town on Sunday with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Nabokov made a half-dozen big saves for them in the third period," said Chicago coach Brian Sutter. "He was good for them."

Eric Daze and Igor Korolev each had a goal and assist for
Chicago, which has lost three of four. For Daze, sixth in the NHL
in goal scoring, it was his 28th of the season. Jocelyn Thibault
recorded 30 saves.

"We had enough chances to score, we just made mistakes," said
Sutter. "When we did make mistakes, it ended up in our net. We
were coming on, then unfortunately we turned the puck over for
their fourth goal."

Sundstrom scored his ninth goal of the season -- his first in 14
games -- with 4:39 left in the first period. Mike Ricci passed to the top of the crease, Thornton redirected to Sundstrom when Thibault came out to challenge and Sundstrom had an open net on the left side.

"You can see how successful we are when we get off to a good
start," said Ricci. "That's the first thing we think about every

Daze's goal, on a power play, tied the game less than two
minutes into the second period.

The Sharks regained the lead at 2-1 less than three minutes later. Ricci had the puck on the right side, then slid the puck to Thornton in the slot when Thibault committed. Thornton one-timed it in.

Marleau's goal gave San Jose a 3-1 lead at 7:26. Gary Suter
centered the puck to Teemu Selanne, who lost it off his stick.
Marleau was right there to pick it up and fire it the net.

The Sharks scored two goals on six shots in the second period.

"I thought we came out of the game and had a good start," said
Sharks' coach Darryl Sutter. "That really set the tone. The only
time they got back into it was when we were playing a little bit
too cozy."

Korolev made it 3-2 at 5:20 of the third period after picking up
the puck from Daze in the corner. But Nolan answered when he stole
a pass from Chris McAlpine and fired a slapshot past Thibeault at

"We were still in it until Nolan came up with a big goal,"
said Daze. "We couldn't answer back."

Game notes
Sharks LW Marco Sturm will fly to Salt Lake City on
Saturday to play with the German Olympic team in a qualifying match
against Slovakia. He's expected back for Sunday's game against
Carolina. ... Thibault has started 14 consecutive games against the
Sharks. ... Selanne has 39 points in 36 career games against the
Blackhawks. ... Chicago's last win in San Jose came on Dec. 14,
1999. ... The Sharks improved to 16-2-3-2 when Sundstrom scores a