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Late power-play goal lifts Sharks past Panthers

Nov 1, 2006 - 3:42 AM SUNRISE, Florida (Ticker) -- The San Jose Sharks showed why they have the league's top power play.

Christian Ehrhoff scored with 36 seconds remaining to lift the Sharks to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers.

Martin Gelinas was whistled for a penalty with 42 seconds to go, giving a power play to San Jose, which came in as the top team in the NHL with the extra skater.

Even though they failed to convert on their first four power-play chances, the Sharks needed only six seconds to collect the winning goal.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Matt Carle got the puck on the left point and slid a pass across to Ehrhoff, who one-timed a long slap shot that deflected off Panthers left wing Ville Peltonen and past goaltender Alex Auld.

"I had a couple of good shots early in the third period, but (Auld) made some good saves," Ehrhoff said. "That's how it goes in hockey. Sometimes, the lucky ones go in and I take it. I am pretty happy with the win."

It was the Sharks' sixth straight victory over the Panthers, outscoring them, 30-8, during that stretch.

"We catch the team at the right time," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said of his team's domination in the series. "We don't see them enough to know them. We don't have a secret plan. We only play them two times every three years."

The Panthers broke on top in the second period. Olli Jokinen took a soft backhand pass on the left wing and snapped a shot just under the crossbar and past Vesa Toskala at the 6:06 mark.

Playing the final contest of a five-game road trip, the Sharks evened it early in the third period. Joe Thornton, catching the Panthers in a line change, skated into the zone and blasted a 40-footer past the glove side of Auld.

It was the second goal of the season and in as many games for Thornton, who last season won the Hart and Art Ross Trophies.

Toskala made 24 saves for San Jose in improving to 6-1 this season.

"I felt good out there. I saw the puck well and everything felt pretty good," Toskala said. "I had a couple of good saves early in the game, which always helps.

"It was good to win this type of game. It's important for the team to win with our 'B' game."

Auld stopped 26 shots for Florida, which lost for the second time in six home games.

"I thought we played a very good game against a good hockey club," Panthers coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought we did a lot of things well in a very tight game. You lose it that way and I think it's difficult, but you have to bounce back."

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