for this game

Blue Jackets top Sharks behind Carter's hat trick

Feb 22, 2012 - 5:20 AM
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Jeff Carter's 500th NHL game was one he will remember for a long time.

Carter netted his second hat trick of the season and the fourth of his career as the Columbus Blue Jackets topped the San Jose Sharks, 6-3, at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday.

"It was great," Carter said of his three-goal performance. "There were some easy tap-ins there and it was nice of Rick (Nash) to give me that last one. I'll take them, we need them."

Nash, David Savard and R.J. Umberger all finished with a goal and an assist, while Vinny Prospal added three assists and Derick Brassard had two helpers for the Blue Jackets, who snapped a two-game skid. Steve Mason made 38 saves in the victory.

Logan Couture scored a pair of goals and Joe Thornton added a goal for the Sharks, who have lost four straight games. Antti Niemi was rocked for three goals on just 11 shots before getting pulled in favor of Thomas Greiss, who yielded three tallies on 24 shots in the loss.

The Blue Jackets opened the scoring just 4:55 into the game when Grant Clitsome ripped a slap shot from the left point that was stopped Niemi, but Umberger was there to put home the rebound.

Columbus extended its lead to 2-0 just under two minutes later with a power play tally after Carter accepted a feed in the slot from Prospal and fired a quick wrister that beat Niemi through the five-hole.

The Blue Jackets then made it 3-0 with 4:42 to play in the first stanza when Nash picked up the puck down low along the left boards, muscled his way to the slot and wired a wrist shot past Niemi to the stick side, ending his night.

Carter capped an explosive first period with his second power-play goal of the frame when he backhanded it in behind Greiss off a rebound from a shot by Prospal with just 30 seconds left on the clock.

San Jose answered with two goals in 26 seconds in the second period to make it a game again at 4-2.

The first tally of the period came at 5:11 when Colin White fired a slap shot from the point that hit off the stick of Brassard, then off the skate of Thornton and into the net.

The Sharks cut the deficit to two at 5:37 when Couture took a feed from Michal Handzus in the left circle and sent a wrister over the shoulder of Mason, but the Blue Jackets responded with their third power-play goal of the evening at 10:59 when Savard fired a shot from just inside the blue line that hit Marc- Edouard Vlasic in front and skipped over the shoulder of Greiss to restore a three-goal cushion for the Jackets.

Carter completed his hat-trick just 1:26 into the final period courtesy of some very unselfish play by Nash.

Holding the puck below the goal line on the left wing, Nash threw it on net and went to the slot and the puck came right out to him. But instead of firing it into the open cage himself, he dished to Carter, who deposited the puck past an out-of-position Greiss, cueing the hats to come raining down from the stands.

His last hat trick was on December 22 in a 6-5 loss to Nashville.

The Sharks capped the scoring with a power-play goal at 8:35 of the final period, but it was too little, too late.

"They were obviously much better prepared to compete than us," Sharks head coach Todd McLellan said. "The disappointing thing for me is the lack of urgency that we entered the game with."

Game Notes

Blue Jackets center Antoine Vermette played in his 600th career NHL game...Prior to Tuesday's game, the Blue Jackets placed forward Jared Boll on injured reserve with a foot injury and activated defenseman Nikita Nikitin...Columbus went 3-for-7 on the power play, while the Sharks converted 1-of-4...The Blue Jackets will host the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, while the Sharks will visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.