Sharks aim to rebound in clash with Hurricanes

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( - The San Jose Sharks will try to put a blowout loss in Pittsburgh behind them when they continue a four-game road trip with Friday's battle against the Carolina Hurricanes.

San Jose had tied a season high with six straight wins before getting slammed 5-1 by the Penguins on Thursday. Along with a 4-2 loss against Vancouver on Nov. 7 and another 5-1 setback versus Chicago on Nov. 17, it marked the third time the Sharks lost by a margin of more than one goal this season.

The Penguins scored four times in the second period to take control of Thursday's game. Chris Kunitz scored twice and Sidney Crosby recorded three assists in the rout.

"One man does not make a team, and that is a team over there," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "They've been able to recover from injury losses in the past and, in fact, some nights they even play better. Their team pulls together."

Tomas Hertl provided the lone score for the Sharks, while Joe Thornton extended his point streak to seven games with an assist.

Antti Niemi lasted two periods in net for the Sharks, allowing four goals on 27 shots. Alex Stalock stopped two of the three shots he faced in the third.

The Sharks fell to 9-3-3 on the road this season with the loss. San Jose will cap its road trip Sunday in Minnesota.

Despite the setback, the Sharks are still leading the Pacific Division with 43 points, two more than Anaheim, which plays Friday evening in Chicago. San Jose is also one point behind the Blackhawks for the Western Conference and overall NHL lead.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, will try for a third straight victory after taking both games on a recent two-game swing. Carolina notched a 4-1 win at Washington on Tuesday before using Jeff Skinner's first career hat trick to down the Nashville Predators by a 5-2 score on Thursday.

Skinner scored his first two goals in the second period and got the third on an empty net, giving him nine goals for the season.

The Hurricanes scored four unanswered goals to end the game, including three in under 13 minutes in the second period after the Predators had taken a 2-1 lead with two goals in the first 2:41 of the frame.

"The puck was bouncing," said Skinner. "It was a weird game. There wasn't much flow."

Justin Faulk and Riley Nash also scored for the Hurricanes, who haven't won three in a row since a four-game run from Feb. 28-March 5 of last season.

Justin Peters made 20 saves to earn the win, but Cam Ward expects to get the call on Friday. Ward is 2-1-0 with a lofty 3.67 goals against average in three career outings against the Sharks.

The Hurricanes are battling a rash of injuries at the moment. Defensemen Mike Komisarek and Drayson Bowman are questionable for tonight with lower-body injuries, while forward Patrick Dwyer could also sit out Friday with an upper- body issue.

Carolina winger Alexander Semin also is nearing a return from a concussion, but he will miss a 10th straight game on Friday.

The Hurricanes are just 6-6-4 as the host this season and have lost their last two games at PNC Arena.

San Jose has lost four of five and five of the last seven games in the series against Carolina. The Sharks also have struggled in Raleigh over the years, dropping four of their last five road games versus Carolina.