The Dallas Stars' three-game California road trip got off to a rough start. The Stars surrendered four first-period goals on their way to a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday evening.
The Sharks scored on their first shot 27 seconds into the game and then tallied three more goals on their next four shots in building a 4-0 lead by late in the first period. The Sharks pushed the lead to 5-0 in the second.
"I don't know what to say. When you don't check, and you don't want to check against a good team who is ready to play, you get buried," said Stars coach Hitchcock. "When you look at the last three games, we've given up so many scoring chances because we don't want to check. When we get back to that, we'll be a good team again."
[WATCH: All Stars vs. Sharks highlights]
The last three games included last Sunday's 6-0 loss to Vancouver, and Friday's 2-1 win over St. Louis in which the Stars were outshot but received outstanding goaltending from Ben Bishop.
Bishop didn't last long in San Jose, getting pulled late in the first period after allowing four goals on five shots. Kari Lehtonen played the rest of the way and stopped 22 of 23 shots.
"Obviously, you never want to give up a goal in the first minute of any period, much less the first shift of the game," said Bishop. "You get behind the eight ball pretty quickly. Some tough bounces there off the end wall, and then [Alexander Radulov] knocks one in and then one that goes off [Tyler Seguin's] stick and in. It's just one of those nights; there wasn't much going my way at least."
Video: DAL@SJS: Lehtonen stones Labanc's one-time chance
Gemel Smith and Tyler Pitlick scored goals for the Stars, who had a six-game road points streak come to an end. The Stars (34-21-4) lost for just the second time in their last eight games overall (6-2-0) and remained in third place in the Central Division.
Joe Pavelski recorded one goal and two assists, Mikkel Boedker scored two goals, and Martin Jones stopped 27 shots for the Sharks, who won for the fourth time in the last five games (4-1-0) and improved to 32-19-8. San Jose is in second place in the Pacific Division.
"I liked our game. We looked like we had a couple of days rest. We had great energy to start. We were really executing," said Sharks coach Pete DeBoer. "We took our foot off the gas a little bit in the third with the lead, which is natural.
"Not much to complain about tonight, we were solid."
Pavelski scored on the game's first shot, tallying on a backhand shot through traffic from the slot 27 seconds into the game to put the Sharks up 1-0.
"It was a broken play," Pavelski said. "Just turn it and fire it. We had good traffic. Obviously, [Bishop] didn't see it, and it went in."
Video: DAL@SJS: Smith wires home wrister off the rush
Melker Karlsson scored on San Jose's third shot, picking off the rebound of a Timo Meier shot that hit the end boards and stuffing it past Bishop to make it 2-0 at 5:59 of the first.
Boedker made it 3-0 on the Sharks' fourth shot when his attempted pass for Chris Tierney hit Radulov's stick and went into the net at 15:08 of the first.
Boedker struck again, just as a power play expired, taking a pass from Tierney and scoring from the slot to make it four goals on five shots and San Jose had a 4-0 lead at 17:23 of the first. That ended the night for Bishop, who was replaced by Lehtonen.
San Jose pushed the lead to 5-0 early in the second. After some extended time in the Dallas zone, Sharks defenseman Justin Braun scored from the right point at the 5:00 mark.
Smith ended Jones' shutout bid 5:35 into the third, taking a pass from Brett Ritchie and scoring from the slot off the rush to make it a 5-1 game. Pitlick made it 5-2 at the 8:57 mark, putting home the rebound of a John Klingberg shot. But that was as close as the Stars got.
"Not the way you want to start a road trip," said Seguin. "Hopefully we can take some positives from the third period and playing more of our style and bring it against two great teams coming up here the rest of this trip."
Video: DAL@SJS: Pitlick backhands rebound past Jones
Hanzal sits with 'general soreness'
Left wing Antoine Roussel returned from a back injury Sunday, but center Martin Hanzal was out due to what Stars coach Ken Hitchcock described as "general soreness." The hope is that Hanzal will be ready for Wednesday's game in Anaheim.
"We felt he wasn't at a high enough percentage to play," Hitchcock said. "With two days off, we opted to rest him and hopefully get a healthier player for Wednesday."
Video: Stars offense sputters in San Jose
The Stars have allowed the first goal in eight of the last 10 games.
The Stars are 2-16-1 when allowing four or more goals in a game.
Both teams had 28 shots on goal. The Stars had a 65-49 advantage in shot attempts.
Mattias Janmark led the Stars with 5 shots on goal. John Klingberg, Tyler Seguin, and Tyler Pitlick all had 7 shot attempts.
The Stars had no power plays in the game. It was the third time this season the Stars have not had a power play in a game.
The Stars were 2-2 on the penalty kill.
The Stars won 23 of 51 faceoffs (45 percent). Seguin won 7 of 11 (64 percent). Jason Spezza won 5 of 7 (71 percent). Jamie Benn won 5 of 11 (45 percent). Radek Faksa won 3 of 13 (23 percent).
Dan Hamhuis led the Stars with 21:54 of ice time.
Video: Seguin on loss to Sharks
The Stars continue their California road trip Wednesday when they play at Anaheim. It will be the first of three meetings between the Stars and Ducks this season. The game will be the front end of a back-to-back for the Stars, who play at Los Angeles on Thursday.
Video: Bishop victim of feeding frenzy in San Jose
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin- Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Devin Shore
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Gemel Smith - Brett Ritchie
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Marc Methot - Stephen Johns
Scratched: Julius Honka
Injured: Martin Hanzal (general soreness)
Video: DAL Recap: Smith, Pitlick score in Stars' 5-2 defeat
This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.