Sharks kick off homestand vs. Hurricanes

( - The San Jose Sharks take aim at a second straight victory when they begin a three-game homestand with Saturday's clash against the Carolina Hurricanes.

San Jose halted a two-game slide and won for the fourth time in six outings with Thursday's 5-1 rout of the Vancouver Canucks. The road victory moved the Sharks four points in front of Vancouver for second place in the Pacific Division, where they also sit two points ahead of third-place Calgary.

The Sharks will continue their homestand Monday against Calgary before closing the stay at SAP Center Wednesday against Washington. San Jose is 14-8-4 at the Shark Tank this season.

Antti Niemi backed a strong offensive effort from his club with 33 saves in the blowout win over the Canucks. Niemi stopped nine shots in the first period, 12 in the second and 12 in the third to improve to 6-0-2 over his last eight starts.

Matt Irwin, Joe Pavelski, Melker Karlsson and Andrew Desjardins all scored, Chris Tierney posted his first NHL goal and Logan Couture and Brent Burns each tallied two assists as the Sharks bounced back from Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Flames.

Sharks forward Daniil Tarasov also registered his first career point with an assist on Desjardins' goal

"We needed some energy and we needed some enthusiasm," said head coach Todd McLellan. "A lot of times the veterans pull the young kid along. Tonight it was the young players pulling the veterans along."

In milestone news, Sharks forward Patrick Marleau became the 11th player in NHL history to play in 1,300 NHL games with one franchise. He also became the youngest player in NHL history to reach 1,300 games played, doing so at 35 years and 143 days, topping the previous mark by defenseman Scott Stevens (35 years, 247 days).

The Hurricanes will try to build off their first win of a four-game road trip when they close the trek this evening in Silicon Valley. Carolina had dropped the first two games of the swing and three straight overall before producing a 2-1 shootout win Thursday in Arizona.

Elias Lindholm scored the lone goal of the shootout to help the 'Canes bounce back after beginning the trip with losses to the New York Rangers and Anaheim Ducks. It was the third win in Carolina's last five road tilts and pushed the club's away record to 7-17-4.

Lindholm, Carolina's first shooter, moved the puck from his backhand to forehand and beat a sprawled Mike Smith with a well-placed wrister. The Coyotes were unable to score in the skills competition as Lucas Lessio and Antoine Vermette each hit the post and Sam Gagner lost control of the puck.

Victor Rask lit the lamp in regulation, tallying just 1:03 into the game, but Arizona answered with a David Moss goal at 6:38 of the opening period.

"You always want to start with a lead on the road," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.

Cam Ward made 28 saves for the Hurricanes, who are 18 points out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Sharks had lost four in a row to Carolina before notching a 2-0 road win over the 'Canes on Nov. 16. It was just the second win in eight meetings in this series for San Jose, which has lost three in a row at home against Carolina.