SAN JOSE - The Carolina Hurricanes ended their scoring drought but could not work out of a four-goal hole, as they dropped a 5-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks.
Lucas Wallmark tallied on the power play for the Hurricanes, but the Sharks had already built a 4-0 lead with a pair of goals in the first and second periods.
Here are five takeaways from the Shark Tank.
When these two teams first met this season in late October, the first period played out very similarly to tonight's opening frame. The Sharks were the better team, and they jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
Video: CAR Recap: Wallmark scores in loss to Sharks
The Sharks struck first tonight with the game not even four minutes old. The Canes turned the puck over, and the Sharks swarmed. Barclay Goodrow then snapped a shot top-shelf. Just past the midway point of the period on the Sharks' second power play of the game, Tomas Hertl tapped the puck in on the doorstep to double his team's lead.
In that aforementioned last meeting, the Canes counteracted a languid first period with a prolific, three-goal second period. Three goals were again scored in this second period, but two of them belonged to the Sharks, who grew their lead to 4-0 before the Canes were able to get on the board.
Timo Meier redirected Radim Simek's point shot in the slot to put the Sharks up 3-0. Then, on a play that summarized the game's first 35 minutes, Joe Pavelski centered the puck off Jordan Staal and in the net. It was that kind of night, it seemed.
"I thought it was a pretty good game up until the fourth one," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "Then, it was pretty much over."
The Canes finally broke through at the 18:31 mark of the second period, and it was the power play doing so after going 0-for-10 in the last three games. Victor Rask laid the puck off at the point for Jaccob Slavin, who drew a defender and dished off to Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton then went cross-ice to Wallmark, whose wrist shot beat Martin Jones through an excellent screen provided by Justin Williams.
Video: CAR@SJS: Wallmark converts on power play
"It gives us some confidence for the future," Wallmark said. "It was a good screen by Willy. That's what we need to score goals. We need some bodies in front."
"The timing of it is what's important on the power play," Brind'Amour said. "They got theirs when they needed it right away. That's what you need."
Down 4-1 in the third period, the Hurricanes needed a goal early to work their way back into the game, but the deficit was too large at that point.
"It's going to be tough if you don't get one early. We didn't generate much in the third to get going. We got a few chances late, but the game is out of hand at that point. It's a tough game. It certainly wasn't a 5-1 game, I don't think," Brind'Amour said. "We definitely had some quality looks and missed the net a lot on the one's in tight. They were opportunistic."
Wallmark's goal, his second of the season, ended a scoreless drought of 140:49 for the Canes, who had last netted a goal late in the first period against Anaheim on Friday. That goal was scored by Andrei Svechnikov 4-on-4. The Canes last 5-on-5 goal came at the 11:59 mark of the second period in Montreal last Tuesday.
"The magic question is 'How do you get goals?' and that's a tough question to answer. I feel like we're pretty much doing everything we can. We're getting enough opportunities," Brind'Amour said. "The hard part for us is to stick together and stick with the game plan. It's easy to go away from it when it's not working at all as far as results. That's the tough part we're going to have to manage."
"We just have to stick to our game plan. We are creating a lot," Wallmark said. "We had some bad bounces and unlucky plays against us."
"You've got to keep competing," Justin Faulk said. "The old saying is you have to work for your chances and work for your bounces. When it's not going your way, you have to dig even deeper. It's not necessarily trying different things, but keep grinding and keep competing. Keep it simple and get to the net."
Brett Pesce returned to the lineup tonight after missing the Canes' last nine games with a lower-body injury. Pesce logged five shot attempts (two on goal), three blocked shots and a takeaway in 15:06 of ice time.
"I thought he was OK," Brind'Amour said. "Faulk was our best defenseman. He was the most competitive. Pesce has been out a long time, so it's hard. I'll give him a little bit of a pass."
In other injury news, Jordan Staal departed the game about midway through the third period with an upper-body injury and did not return.
"We're still looking at that," Brind'Amour said.
The Hurricanes complete their three-game tour of California with a Friday night faceoff against the Anaheim Ducks.