(San Jose, CA) — The San Jose Sharks made it 0-2 at the Shark tank this season as they got blasted by the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. The loss is the third straight for the Sharks after a season opening win in Sweden over Columbus.
The Sharks fell behind 3-0 before mounting even the slightest comeback. The story was shoddy puck control and as coach Todd McLellan says a lack of mental engagement.
“If you look at the offensive chances, the number of empty nets that we missed tonight, and the number of chances around the net offensively in the last couple games and we haven’t been polished,” McLellan said. “After that you look at the number of turnovers the puck is clearly on our tape. It starts in the Atlanta game on the power play, we turned one over in the neutral zone, tonight clearly on our tape the two goals.”
Chad LaRose had a goal and two assists, Eric Staal had a goal and an assist and Erik Cole, Patrick Dwyer and Joni Pitkanen each scored for Carolina.
Cam Ward made his first ever start at the HP Pavilion and made 41 saves to get the win.
Patrick Marleau scored both goals for San Jose in the second period to bring them within one goal for a short time.
“At 3-0 you have a little bit of pride and play pretty hard, so we did come back in that area,” McLellan said. “(But we had) far too many mistakes. You may win five percent of your games coming back from 3-0.”
Antti Niemi made his second straight start in net for the Sharks and made 26 saves.
The Hurricanes struck first when they were shorthanded. LaRose grabbed the puck off a turnover and created a 2-1 break. As he skated toward the net he centered the pass to Staal who found the net.
Carolina made it 2-0 with just 2:24 left in the first period. After numerous shots, a couple of saves, and three defenders blocking shots right in front of Niemi, Cole was able to scoop up a rebound and blast it glove side before Niemi could react.
Carolina out shot San Jose 10-8 in the first period getting the last eight shots on net. The Sharks were then booed off the ice at the end of the first.
In the second, rookie Mike Moore turned the puck over trying to clear it. Carolina took possession at the blue line. After one shot was deflected, Dwyer put in the rebound for the 3-0 lead.
The Sharks finally scored on a Marleau deflection. With Thornton and Marleau working in the corner, the defenders all drifted over the left side. As Thornton worked the puck out to Marleau he skated from the side toward the net, he passed it out to Boyle who was wide open. His wrist shot beat Ward stick side and deflected off a raised Marleau stick who had kept charging the net.
Marleau got his second on the power play. He beat his defender off of the wall and got a step and wristed a perfect shot from the side that snuck in between the back of Ward and the post.
The Sharks out shot Carolina 19-9 during the second period.
The Hurricanes sealed the deal when they made it 4-2. Staal stole the puck from Douglas Murray deep in the zone. He crashed the net before passing it out to Larose whose slap shot easily beat Niemi.
“What that (the fourth goal) does is say our third periods aren’t going to be played in our end of the ice and then the next shift right after that was fantastic and it kind of sets the minds right that we’re trying to go forward here, even if we have the lead,” said Hurricanes head coach Paul Maurice
Overall Maurice was very impressed with the improvement his team made over a tough loss in Vancouver on Sunday.
“The things we wanted to do we didn’t do in Vancouver and we didn’t have success,” he said. “We directly did a lot of them tonight and it’s good early in the season to have a night where you get five. It just gets more people feeling good about themselves and feeling like they’re having a good start to their season, which is really important.”
It was 5-2 Hurricanes after Pitkanen hit a slap shot that beat Niemi after a nice drop pass from Tom Kostopoulos.
The Hurricanes were in a hurry to hit the road as they play in Los Angeles against the Kings on Wednesday. The Sharks hit the road for a three game trip starting Thursday in Colorado.
Maybe getting on the road will help the Sharks find some focus? McLellan thought they were ready to do that tonight.
“There are always excuses of traveling to Europe and what not, but I don’t buy into that we’ve been home for ten days,” he says. “Try to use the excuse we haven’t played many games, we just played two games in four nights. I think it comes from the individuals, it’s the way the prepare and the type of game they want to play right now, and its not the right formula.”
The Hurricanes are in the midst of a very long road trip. Like the Sharks, Carolina started the season with two games in Europe. Unlike the Sharks, when it was time to return to the US, it was back on the road for five games. In total, the team will travel more than 15,000 miles in four countries and across 11 time zones before retunring hom for the home opener against the Capitals on October 27th.
The Sharks have scored a PP goal in each of their first four games and are now 6-for-20 (30.0%) this season.
Scott Nichol played in his 500th career NHL game.
Joe Thornton extended his scoring streak to four games with his second assist of the season (2+2=4).