Game 60 Recap: Carter and Nash Huge in Victory Over Sharks

Amid all the trade speculation, fans of the Jackets were treated to a big victory of the visiting San Jose Sharks. The team's top players were at their best on this night, with Carter putting up a hattie on his milestone night, and six players having multi-point games. Steve Mason had the chance to set a record tonight (of a positive nature) and came through.

Please, read on after the jump for the tale of the tape. It was a fun game, and let's all enjoy it while it's still fresh.

First Period

Before the drop of the puck, I was reminded that if Columbus goaltender Steve Mason were to beat the Sharks, he would take over the franchise record for wins. My first thought, unfortunately, was something along the lines of "uh-oh, how is he going to perform with that thought in the back of his head?"He didn't disappoint.

The Jackets were given a boost with the return of defenceman Nikita Nikitin after missing twelve games due to injury. He was immediatly placed on the top pairing with Fedor Tyutin.

The pace was fast early, with each team having near-equal time of possession. There were few scoring chances until the 4:55 mark, when the Jackets broke the goose egg. Grant Clitsome received the puck at the left point, and fired it on net. R.J. Umberger was in front of San Jose netminder Antti Niemi, and was able to gather the puck in the blue paint, backhanding it past Niemi. He was able to score after the second whack at the puck.

1-0 Jackets: R.J. Umberger (Grant Clitsome, Derick Brassard)

A minute-and-a-half later, Joe Pavelski allowed the Jackets to go on the man advantage when he was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct after "snowing" Mason. It didn't take the Jackets long to increase their lead by two- Vinny Prospal found Jeff Carter lurking just beyond the hashmarks, and Carter fired off one of his patented wristers, beating Niemi clean.

2-0 Jackets: Jeff Carter (Vinny Prospal, Mark Letestu)

Some truly ugly hockey followed for the next few minutes. The puck was hacked, chopped, dumped and lunged at by both squads, with the puck rarely moving more than five feet along the boards.

Things started to clean up after a great shift by the Carter/Prospal/Letestu line. They had back-to-back chances on Niemi, but couldn't beat him. The shift gave some life to the Jackets, and they maintained offensive pressure until the media timeout midway through the period.

At 12:52 the Sharks went to the powerplay, after Colton Gillies ran block for Ryan Johansen. To those new to hockey- you can't set a pick in this sport! The Sharks were unable to set up in the Jackets' zone until the final 30 seconds of the powerplay, at which point they really turned it on. The peppered the Columbus net, with some pucks making it through to Mason. For all of that pressure, the Sharks were unable to score.

The kill gave the Jackets life, even with another media timeout shortly the penalty ended. Seconds after play resumed, Nash took the puck from behind the San Jose net off the cycle, powering his way to the slot. Once he was clear of Shark defenders, he wired a hard wrister past Niemi, putting the Jackets up by a three-spot.

3-0 Jackets: Rick Nash (Derick Brassard, R.J. Umberger)

The Sharks pulled Niemi after the Nash goal, replacing him with Thomas Greiss. Opposite of Greiss, Mason was forced to make a couple of big saves at times, as the Sharks started to apply pressure.

That is, until things turned nasty. I was getting a huge kick out of Ryan Johansen on this one particular shift late in the period, he was hitting everything that moved and really giving guys the business along the boards. It was great to see #19 that engaged in the off-the-puck portion of the game. At the end of that shift, he finished his check on Logan Couture, knocking him to the ice. Johansen was then jumped by Ryane Clowe. Clowe dropped the gloves, but before he could get any shots off on Johansen, Umberger stepped in. Clowe was wrestled away by the linesman, but Tommy Wingels engaged Umberger. The two traded some body shots before falling to the ice. The two would receive fighting majors, while Clowe was given a roughing call.

The Clowe penalty put the Jackets on the powerplay for a vast majority of the remaining time in the first period. With 30 seconds left in the period, and still up by a man, the Jackets were able to set up the umbrella in the offensive zone. Vinny Prospal stickhandled the puck along the wall, flipping a shot on net. The puck deflected off of two Sharks, before sliding to the left of Greiss. Carter turned his back to Greiss and backhanded the puck between his legs into the net.

4-0 Jackets: Jeff Carter (Vinny Prospal, David Savard)

End of the first period, 4-0 Jackets.

Second Period

The Jackets started the period strong, setting the tone physically right off the faceoff. The Sharks were able to get some floaters on Mason, but were otherwise ineffective. With 2:15 off the clock, Nash finished his check on Patrick Marleau behind and to the right of the San Jose net. From my vantage point the check looked hard, but clean. Naturally, Nash was called for boarding. It would seem that any check with more than a six inch gap between the guy getting hit and the glass will result on that call. Terrible.

By way of some hard work, the Jackets were able to kill off the penalty. Unfortunately, however, moments later they were victimized by some bad luck. As a Sharks defenceman fired the puck on net, it deflected first off of Brassard's stick, and then off of Joe Thornton's skate. With no kicking motion, the goal stood.

4-1 Jackets: Joe Thornton (Colin White, Andrew Desjardins)

Just seconds later, the Sharks cut the lead in half. After some lazy play near the San Jose blueline, the Sharks gained possession of the puck and skated up-ice. Couture eventually received the puck at the right dot, and wired a wrister past Mason.

4-2 Jackets: Logan Couture (Michal Handzus, Justin Braun)

The Jackets then called a timeout to settle things down. At 7:37, Clowe was back at it with the rough stuff. The zebras weren't having any of it, and sent Clowe to the box with a double-minor- cross checking with unsportsmanlike tacked on for good measure.

The first three-plus minutes went by with the Jackets failing to set the powerplay structure up consistently. With seconds remaining in the man advantage however, the Jackets struck again. Nikitin half-faked a shot from the right point before sliding over to his powerplay defense partner Savard. Savvy wound up and blasted a slapper past Greiss, via Marc-Edouard Vlasic's skate.

5-2 Jackets: David Savard (Nikita Nikitin, Antoine Vermette)

There was little to report on after that goal. For the remaining minutes of period two the teams alternated chances, with no team able to change the score.

End of the second period, 5-2 Jackets.

Third Period

The Jackets came out hungry, and took it to the Sharks early in the third. At the 1:26 mark of the period, a crossover shift saw Rick Nash on the ice with Prospal and Carter. Carter had the puck in the corner, and fed it cross-ice to Nash. Nash fired the puck towards the net, but it went off bodies in front. Nash skated towards the slot, and picked up the loose puck. Carter, sitting on two goals, skated to the slot himself. In an unselfish move, Nash slid the puck to Carter, who wired into the net for the hat trick, in his 500th NHL game no less.

6-2 Jackets: Jeff Carter (Rick Nash, Vinny Prospal)

At 1:48, a frustrated Colin White elbowed Nash, and was sent off for doing so. The Jackets powerplay looked dangerous, with a handful of chances, but Greiss stood tall. Derick Brassard was cool as a cucumber out there, I can't say enough about his turnaround post-Arniel.

There was more of the back and forth that characterized much of the first two periods, until the 7:56 mark, when Tyutin went off for hooking. The Sharks only needed a few seconds before cutting the lead in half again. Pavelski shot the puck towards the net, and Couture applied a beauty tip to redirect the puck past Mason.

6-3 Jackets: Logan Couture (Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle)

Just seconds later, it looked as though the Sharks cut the Columbus lead to two. Andrew Desjardins snuck in from the point and fired the puck toward the net. It hit something in front and went skyward. As it dropped, Jamie McGinn batted it out of mid-air behind Mason. The ref immediatly called no-goal, as McGinn's stick was above the crossbar. The play was reviewed, but the call stood. No goal.

The Jackets went to the powerplay again at 12:32, when Handzus went off for hooking Nikitin. The Jackets were again able to set up shop early in the offensive zone, but couldn't beat Greiss. Of particular note was the play of Brassard, directing traffic from his new powerplay home on the point.

Just before the media timeout, the Sharks went up a man after Gillies went off again, this time for hooking. A determined penalty kill prevented the Sharks from scoring once again however.

With just seconds remaining, Brad Winchester showed how much of a moron he could be by giving Gillies a forearm shiver along the boards. The penalty ended the game, with no goals scored.

Final Score: 6-3 Jackets.

Standard Bearers:

  • Steve Mason took over the franchise record for wins with tonight's victory. Two of the three goals were redirects, where he had little to no chance of making the save. He faced 40+ shots, but stood tall. Good job, Mase.
  • In his 500th career game, Jeff Carter put up a hatty. Huge game from number 7.
  • Six players had multi-point nights - Carter, Prospal, Brassard, Umberger, Savard and Nash.
  • Speaking of Prospal, he had three helpers and was doing the hard work along the boards that allowed his centerman (Carter) to get open.

Bottom of the Barrel:

  • Colton Gillies committed a pair of undisciplined penalties, but was otherwise effective.
  • Ryan Johansen got the least amount of icetime (11:11). I'm sure that he will replace Mark Letestu on the second line in the near future. Letestu hasn't contributed much five-on-five, and Johansen has the skill to hang with Carter and Vinny.

It was a fun night for Jackets fans, a big win at home where the team's best players were all over the scoresheet. Next up is Colorado on Friday. See you then!

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