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Special Teams Dominance Not Enough as Hurricanes Fall to Sharks

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Carolina dominated the play on Saturday night, but they came out on the wrong side of a 4-3 final score.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Carolina Hurricanes James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

A wacky start gave way to a dominant performance from the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, but bad bounces and timely conversions from the San Jose Sharks sunk the Canes in southern California.

It took 12 seconds and one shot on net to get the game’s first goal. A bad pinch from Ron Hainsey set up a two-on-one chance for the Sharks and Joe Thornton found Patrick Marleau on the rush to give the home team a 1-0 edge early.

25 seconds later, Thornton took a holding penalty on Brock McGinn, giving the Hurricanes their first powerplay chance of the evening, and they took advantage of it. Teuvo Teravainen had the puck in tight on Aaron Dell and he found an uncovered Lee Stempniak flying to the net. Stempniak buried the chance, ending his goalless streak at 23 games and tying the game at one.

1:15 later, the Sharks took their second lead of the first period. Paul Martin’s point shot deflected off of Brett Pesce in the slot and Cam Ward had no chance at keeping it out. It was Martin’s first goal of the season and his first goal in 28 games, making it a 2-1 game.

The action started to slow down considerably through the remainder of period one prior to a big push late from Carolina that didn't render a goal.

A Derek Ryan slashing penalty midway through the second period gave the league’s top-ranked penalty kill their only outing of the night, and they came up big. Victor Rask sprung Joakim Nordstrom for a breakaway goal, tying things up at two apiece.

1:16 later, another fortunate bounce for the Sharks ended with a goal. Brent Burns barely kept a puck in the offensive zone and then flung it on the net, where Logan Couture got his stick on it and beat Ward on the blocker side to give San Jose another lead.

Up to that point, the Canes and Sharks had traded goals, but San Jose broke that trend and cushioned their lead. A gift wrapped rebound chance for Kevin Lebanc just outside of the crease was hammered home, making it a 4-2 hockey game.

Carolina got their second powerplay chance of the game in the early stages of period three, and just like the first time, they converted. Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner combined to win a puck battle in the corner, and Skinner walked in front and found Derek Ryan who was all alone and snuck it through Dell to make it a 4-3 game.

A late push from the Hurricanes wasn't enough to even the score, giving the Sharks the win on home ice and giving the Canes an even 1-1-1 record on their three-game California road trip.

Carolina edged San Jose by a 68 to 44 margin in shot attempts with Jeff Skinner (+18) and Derek Ryan (+14) leading the way at even strength. Skinner’s 11 shots on net is the most any Hurricane player has had in a single game this season.

A victim of bad bounces and unfortunate circumstances, Cam Ward stopped just 16 of 20 shots on Saturday. His .800 save percentage was the lowest that he’s posted so far this season.

Ryan’s third-period goal extended his point streak to three games (3-1-4). He now has seven points over his last eight games and has been a big-time contributor on a line with Skinner.

Rank the Performances

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