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Sharks hand 'Canes ninth straight loss

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It was nine years in the making, but the San Jose Sharks finally solved the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center on Sunday.

Kent Huskins and Brad Staubitz scored 1:22 apart in the second period, Evgeni Nabokov made 25 saves and the surging San Jose cruised past Carolina in a 5-1 victory.
 
Douglas Murray , Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Patrick Marleau also scored for the Sharks (10-4-1), who have won five in a row and now sit atop the Pacific Division. It was San Jose's first win in Carolina since Oct. 24, 2000 as its blue line chipped in with three goals.

''I think that's a part of our team,'' Huskins said. ''All of our defensemen can kind of get up in the rush and make it an odd-man rush. If we can chip in goals, that's great.''

Brandon Sutter scored his second goal in as many games for the reeling Hurricanes (2-8-3), who haven't won in nine games and are off to the worst start in franchise history. They've been outscored 16-4 in their last three contests.

Erik Cole returned after missing 10 games with a broken leg and Tuomo Ruutu suited up after serving a three-game suspension for his hit on Colorado's Darcy Tucker. But Carolina still struggled mightily on both ends of the ice. They also lost Eric Staal to an upper-body injury. He did not return.

''It's not any one consistent thing through the bunch of games -- it's a different fire each day,'' Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. ''I probably can't explain how frustrating that is.''

Sutter's goal broke a scoreless tie at 2:48 of the second period, but the Sharks responded with goals from Huskins, Staubitz and Murray in a span of 10:47 to grab a 3-1 lead. 

"They told me at the end of last season that I was going to get a bigger role," said Murray, who finished off a nice feed from Joe Thornton for his first goal in 109 games. "We put pressure on in their zone for quite a while. My guy was asleep, so I just went straight to the net. You can be a little bit more aggressive when they're tired out there."

San Jose put the game away with two more goals in the third against Cam Ward (20 saves). Vlasic made it 4-1 at 4:20 before Patrick Marleau notched his 11th goal of the season via the power play as he ripped a slap shot past Ward with 8:48 remaining.

Carolina, meanwhile, will look to avoid a 10th straight loss on Wednesday night at Florida. The Hurricanes also dropped a 6-1 decision at Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

''I think we're all taken aback, and I think that's part of it,'' Maurice said. ''I think that things that you've seen work well in the past haven't worked well. Areas that you expected to be strong in -- forechecking and controlling the puck in the offensive zone -- (haven't worked). That surprises the hell out of you.''

-- Brian Compton, NHL.com



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