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Umberger records hat trick as Blue Jackets rout Hurricanes

Mar 24, 2012 - 2:22 AM
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - R.J. Umberger netted a hat trick and the Columbus Blue Jackets breezed past the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-1, on Friday at Nationwide Arena.

Vinny Prospal had a goal and an assist and Mark Letestu also scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won five straight games against the Hurricanes. Derick Brassard added three assists and Nikita Nikitin and Jack Johnson had two helpers apiece.

Steve Mason posted 39 stops in the victory.

"I think the whole team just felt good after that first one went in on the power play," Umberger said. "After that, it just seemed like Brass (Brassard) was finding me open a lot. We has some turnovers and odd-man rushes, but I think the key to the game was that our penalty kill was really good tonight."

Drayson Bowman tallied the lone goal for the Hurricanes, who had their four- game winning streak snapped. Cam Ward was tagged for all five goals on 26 shots in defeat.

Columbus opened the scoring at the 6:50 mark of the first period after Prospal accepted a deft drop-pass from Johnson in the right circle and fired a quick snap shot on net that handcuffed Ward an found its way into the net.

Skating on the man advantage, the Blue Jackets made it 2-0 at 9:03 of the second stanza after Umberger knocked down a clearing attempt at the blue line to keep the puck in the zone, moved in a few steps and fired a wrist shot high over the shoulder of Ward.

The Hurricanes answered at 13:16 when Bowman put a shot on net from the right circle that went in and out of the glove of Mason. The Columbus netminder briefly lost sight of the puck and Bowman was able to sweep home his own rebound to make it 2-1.

Umberger collected his second goal of the night at 14:36 of the second period after Brassard brought the puck into the offensive zone on the left wing and sent a cross-ice pass right to the tape of Umberger and he one-timed it past a sliding Ward to make it 3-1.

Umberger completed his hat trick at 14:58 of the third period after he went in on a 2-on-1 with Brassard, accepted a quick pass in the left circle and ripped it past an out of position Ward to make it 4-1.

Columbus capped the scoring less than two minutes later when Letestu found the back of the net at 16:45 off a perfect feed from Prospal.

"We played some good hockey, but we just looked like a tired team tonight," Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller said. "We've been battling every night, we had opportunities on the power play, we just couldn't execute."

Game Notes

Friday marked the first and only meeting of the season between the teams...It was Umberger's third career hat trick...The Blue Jackets went 1-for-3 with the man advantage, while the Hurricanes failed to score on five power-play opportunities...The Blue Jackets scored the first goal of the game for the 34th time this season and are 18-12-4 in those games...Mason improved to 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and .952 save percentage in four career games against Carolina.