SAN JOSE - The San Jose Sharks won the special teams battle and won the game, handing the Carolina Hurricanes just their second loss of the season in a 5-2 final on Wednesday night.
Evander Kane tallied a hat trick in the first period, which included two power-play goals, while Dougie Hamilton and Erik Haula found the back of the net for the Canes.
Here are five takeaways from the Shark Tank.
1. Not So Special Teams
The story of this one is told in a couple lines in the box score: The Sharks were 2-for-4 on the power play, while the Hurricanes were 0-for-4.
That was the simple difference.
Video: CAR Recap: Hamilton, Haula score in 5-2 loss
"Specialty teams was off today," Haula said. "We took a couple offensive-zone penalties. They have a good power play, and they put the puck in the net. We got chances, and it just wasn't there. That's on me and the rest of the guys on the power play."
"Our special teams were terrible. Other than that, we were pretty fine," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "The power play was not good. They got a couple bounces there. It was weird. That was really the difference in the game."
2. A Deep Hole
Multi-goal holes are difficult to climb out of no matter the circumstance, and they're even more challenging to overcome on the road.
Evander Kane tallied a hat trick in the first period alone. He was in the right spot (the slot) at the right time (when the puck was present) to bang home a couple of goals and tipped in a low point shot to initiate the rain of hats onto the ice.
"He's a good player," Brind'Amour said. "You can't leave him alone around the net, that's for sure."
Two of Kane's three goals were scored on the power play, as the Sharks converted both of their man advantage opportunities in the first period.
"They got the bounces in the first period," Haula said. "They live off that power play. That drives them and gets them going."
Despite being down 3-1 after one, the Canes still felt like they were in the game.
"Our group never quits," Hamilton said. "It's a good team over there. They know how to close out games."
3. Needing One on the Power Play
The Hurricanes got their share of power-play opportunities in the second period, which included 40-some-odd seconds of a 5-on-3. Though the team recorded seven shots on their three power plays in the middle frame, they couldn't get one past Martin Jones.
"We were down by two and got a 5-on-3. You score there, it's a one-goal game, and you never know," Haula said. "We've got to execute and battle more. We've just got to be better on the power play."
The Canes are now 0-for-13 on the power play in their last four games.
"Inability to score," Brind'Amour said. "In the third period, our entries were terrible, and our attention to detail on that was not very good."
"Teams have pre-scouted. We scored on the same play all of our goals," Hamilton said. "Other people in the league aren't stupid. They're going to know what to take away, and we have to look for new opportunities to score."
4. Staying Out of the Box
Coming into tonight's game, the Canes were uncharacteristically the most penalized team in the league with 35 minors levied against them in seven games. They were whistled for another three minor penalties on Wednesday, bringing their per game average to 4.75, still top in the league.
Even Jaccob Slavin, one of the least penalized players in hockey, committed a stick infraction. From the box, he banged his stick on the boards in appreciation of when his team cleared the zone.
"We have to be smarter," Hamilton said. "We can't win games when we're on the PK all the time."
It's not that they're bad penalties, though. They're not retaliatory. They're typically the result of the Canes' aggressiveness.
"I think we work hard and are hard on pucks," Hamilton said. "I don't think they're necessarily stupid penalties. We're just working hard and getting our sticks in there."
Even still, the Canes have to find a way to avoid the penalty box - and convert when the other team falls into the same trend.
"They're calling lots of things. That's just how it is now. We've got to kill them, though. We've got to do a better job," Brind'Amour said. "At the end of the day, you've got to kill them, and we didn't. When we get our power play, we've got to make it count, and we didn't. There's the game."
5. Hamilton, Haula Stay Hot
On the positive side, two of the Hurricanes' hottest sticks remained hot. Hamilton scored his fifth goal of the season, which leads league defensemen, to tie the game at one, a shot from the right circle that popped in past Jones.
Video: CAR@SJS: Hamilton rips wrister home from circle
In the third period, Haula scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season by simply having a nose for the net, as Brock McGinn's shot ricocheted in off his midsection.
"It doesn't matter," Haula said of his goal. "It's a team game. It doesn't matter."
The Hurricanes end their three-game of tour of California in Anaheim with a Friday night match-up against the Ducks.
"It was a challenge for us to come in tonight on the back-to-back. We saw what happened against Columbus when we lost. We didn't have our jump," Hamilton said. "We're good when we're fast and tenacious. When we're tired, we can't get to that game. We'll get some rest and try to finish the trip off well."