RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) After their worst stretch of the season, the San Jose Sharks are back on the winning track.
Brent Burns had a goal and an assist, and the Sharks beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 on Sunday.
Timo Meier and Chris Tierney scored, and Aaron Dell stopped 29 shots for this first win in two weeks. San Jose never trailed as it won their second straight following a season-high four-game losing streak.
”I wouldn’t say we’re rounding into form, I think we just got back to it,” Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said. ”Real big commitment, it’s created a little bit of momentum. Everyone is buying in.”
Sebastian Aho scored for the Hurricanes, who missed a chance to move into sole possession of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Cam Ward made 23 saves and saw his personal three-game win streak snapped.
The Hurricanes were outshot 12-5 in a lethargic first period, by the end of which they trailed 2-1. Coach Bill Peters said major lineup changes are in store following the effort.
”Disappointing effort. Disappointing preparation. We got what we deserved,” Peters said. ”(The lineup) will be different Tuesday. There’s three healthy bodies (in reserve), and if it’s not those three, there’s a group down in (AHL affiliate) Charlotte, too.”
”You can’t put that group out again after that. It’s not acceptable. They let each other down, too, in the room. That’s not right,” he said.
San Jose took advantage of the Hurricanes’ listlessness to jump in front early and stayed there most of the game.
Meier opened the scoring 4:06 into the first period. Joonas Donskoi took control of the puck in the right corner and passed to an uncovered Meier in front of the net, and he put a one-timer past Ward’s outstretched left pad.
Aho briefly tied it for the Hurricanes in the first. Jordan Staal intercepted a pass at the Sharks’ left faceoff circle and dished a backhander toward the goal line Aho, who beat Dell.
But San Jose took the lead back with 35 seconds left in the opening period, when Carolina once again left a man wide open in front of the net. This time it was Tierney, who settled a pass from Melker Karlsson in the corner and flipped a backhander past Ward.
”I was surprised how much time I had,” Tierney said. ”We try to make plays in the corner and lose guys and create opportunities in space for ourselves. I think we just were rolling around down there and got loose a couple of times and made them pay.”
Burns made it 3-1 just 2:03 into the second. Aided by a screen from Barclay Goodrow, Burns’ casual turnaround slap shot from the point slipped under Ward’s glove to give San Jose a comfortable two-goal cushion.
That was enough for Dell, who had a redemptive performance after allowing five and six goals, respectively, in his previous two starts. After allowing Aho’s goal, Dell stopped the final 25 shots he faced.
”It’s just good to get the win on this one,” Dell said. ”It was an important game. Standings are close right now. The win is that only thing that really matters. As long as we get the win, it doesn’t matter how many I give up.”
NOTES: Aho has eight goals in his last 10 games. … Meier leads the Sharks in goals (10) since Dec. 1. … Sharks D Justin Braun played his 500th career game. … Goodrow played his 100th game.
Sharks: Wrap up their five-game road trip at Colorado on Tuesday.
Hurricanes: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday in the fifth of their eight-game homestand.