Rock, meet hard place.
That’s where the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves after a 5-1 road loss Wednesday against the San Jose Sharks.
The Canes’ scoring woes continued, with the only goal coming from center Lucas Wallmark on a second-period power play, and that after the Sharks had taken a 4-0 lead at SAP Center in San Jose.
Goalie Curtis McElhinney, solid most of the season, allowed five goals on 23 shots.
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Again, shots weren’t an issue -- the Canes had 40 against Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Scoring continues to be the issue and has the Canes (12-11-4) in a three-game losing streak and a team funk.
“It’s a tough game,” Canes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It certainly wasn’t, I think, a 5-1 game or anything. It could have gone either way. We definitely had some quality looks and missed the net a lot on ones in tight and (the Sharks) were opportunistic.
“The magic question is how do you get goals? That’s a tough question to answer. I feel like we’re pretty much doing everything we can and getting enough opportunities.”
The Canes began their West Coast trip with a 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday as goalie Jonathan Quick stopped all 34 shots. After Wednesday, they have scored five goals in the past five games (1-3-1) and have not scored a five-on-five goal the past three games.
“We’ve had too many like this, that’s the problem, where we’ve played good enough to win and we don’t get any results,” Brind’Amour said. “That’s hard. That’s hard on the guys.
“This has been a weird year for us. You lose a 5-1 game and you think ‘It’s a terrible game’ but I didn’t see it that way at all. I’ll have to look at it again but it certainly didn’t feel like that.”
The Canes had center Jordan Staal leave the game with an upper-body injury. Brind’Amour did not have an update on Staal’s condition after the game.
One plus: defenseman Brett Pesce returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a leg injury.
Asked about the Canes converting on the power play, Brind’Amour said, “The power play is only good when you need it. We needed it early. They got theirs when they needed it.”
Tomas Hertl’s power-play goal, on a backdoor tap-in, gave the Sharks a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. Wallmark scored at 18:31 of the second period after an Evander Kane tripping penalty.
The Canes again played without forward Micheal Ferland, out with a concussion. General manager Don Waddell said Wednesday morning that Ferland, who leads the team with 11 goals, has had some light workouts off the ice but has not skated.
“The hard part for us is we’re going to have to stick together and stick with the game plan,” Brind’Amour said.