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Sharks start month on wrong foot in 5-2 loss

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SAN JOSE — November ended with a bang for the Sharks. December began with a faceplant.

The Sharks were no match Tuesday for the Washington Capitals, who scored three goals in the first period and added two more in the second to help cruise to a 5-2 win at SAP Center.

Melker Karlsson scored at the 2:33 mark of the first period for the game’s opening goal, but the Capitals quickly took over. Garnet Hathaway, Jakub Vrana and John Carlson all scored in a 3-minute-and-1-second span to put the Sharks in a hole they couldn’t escape.

Hathaway and Vrana also added second-period goals as the Capitals scored five times — all at even strength — on their first 22 shots. Starting goalie Martin Jones was pulled for just the second time this season, as he was replaced by Aaron Dell for the third period.

Evander Kane also scored for the Sharks at the 13:07 mark of the third period, snapping a nine-game goal drought.

Kane, though, might be facing supplemental discipline from the NHL for an incident with Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas with 5:01 left in the third period. Kane appeared to get Gudas in the head with his right hand, or perhaps the end of his stick, as the two chased after a puck near the Capitals bench.

After an officials review, Kane was given a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.

The Sharks came back to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday, closing out November with an 11-4-0 record. Following three of those four losses — to Vancouver, Edmonton and Winnipeg — the Sharks responded with wins in their following game.

That’ll be harder to do this time, as the Sharks begin a four-game road trip Thursday in Carolina against the Hurricanes, then stops in Tampa Bay, Florida and Nashville.

Tomas Hertl left the game after his first shift of the third period, as he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards on a check on Capitals defenseman Nick Jones.

Hertl, who missed four games from Nov. 21-27 with a lower body injury, also left Saturday’s game with Los Angeles in the third period for precautionary reasons.

The Sharks trailed by two after the first period.

Karlsson opened the scoring 2:33 into the game as he went in on a partial breakaway after a long pass from Brenden Dillon and beat Capitals goalie Braden Holtby low to the blocker side for his third goal of the season.

The Capitals responded at the 13:31 mark, as a shot from Carlson was tipped in by Hathaway just above the crease. Jones either thought the puck was tipped in by a high stick by Hathaway, or thought he was interfered with. The Sharks, though, did not challenge.

The Capitals took a 2-1 lead just 53 seconds later, as Vrana, left all alone in front of the Sharks net as the puck went back to the point, took a pass from Carlson and tipped it off the post then tapped it in for his 13th goal of the season.

Carlson picked up his third point of the period at the 16:32 mark of the first, as he blasted a slap shot past Jones for his ninth goal of the season.

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