Nash hat trick carries Jackets past Sharks, 3-0

San Jose Sharks

SAN JOSE – Western Conference standings showed a total of nine
teams within either one or two points of second place entering
Saturday night’s NHL play. The San Jose Sharks, one of four teams
sharing eighth place with 22 points on Saturday morning, missed a
chance to stay among the conference’s top eight by suffering a 3-0
setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets at sold-out HP Pavilion.
SAN JOSE – Western Conference standings showed a total of nine teams within either one or two points of second place entering Saturday night’s NHL play. The San Jose Sharks, one of four teams sharing eighth place with 22 points on Saturday morning, missed a chance to stay among the conference’s top eight by suffering a 3-0 setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets at sold-out HP Pavilion.

The Blue Jackets, ranked 29th among the 30 NHL teams in power play percentage before Saturday’s game, went right to work correcting that flaw in their game by scoring on their lone power play opportunity of the first period.

Shark Jamal Mayers added to his team-high penalty minute mark 2:50 into play when he was called for holding Jacket Jan Hejda. Rick Nash converted the power play at 3:31 when his low shot from the left face-off circle skimmed off the left skate of San Jose’s Dan Boyle at the edge of the crease and rolled into the net.

After Columbus raced to a 10-3 edge in shots on net for the game’s first 9:19, the Jackets failed to register another shot for the remainder of the period while San Jose finished the 20-minute session with 15 shots.

Nash, the first-overall selection in the 2002 draft, added his 11th goal of the season at 15:55 of the second period for a 2-0 cushion. After San Jose pulled goalie Antero Niittymaki for an extra skater in the game’s final 1:52, Nash completed the hat trick with an empty-netter with 54.4 seconds to play.

Nash has goals in five straight games and points in eight straight games. The forward’s power-play tally was his fourth game-winner of the season.

Columbus brought a 1-15-2 mark into HP Pavilion, the lone win prior to Saturday coming on Jan. 8, 2004 in a 3-2 overtime triumph. The Jackets and Sharks opened the season with a two-game series in Stockholm, Sweden, San Jose winning the opener 3-2 and Columbus taking the finale 3-2 in overtime.

Jacket goaltender Mathieu Garon earned his third shut-out while making 35 saves. Garon was making his seventh appearance of the year.

The shut-out loss snapped a seven-game streak for the Sharks with at least one point earned. San Jose was 4-0-3 since being blanked in consecutive games by Minnesota and St. Louis.

The Sharks host the Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday before spending Friday and Saturday in Canada playing Vancouver and Edmonton.

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