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Posts Tagged ‘Jiri Tlusty.’

Umberger’s hat trick, penalty-kill, Mason’s goaltending fuels 5-1 win over Carolina

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets showed Friday night in their 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, how good they can be as a team.

They dominated the game from the outset and received excellent work between the pipes by goaltender Steve Mason, a solid penalty-kill and a hat trick from R.J. Umberger.

Vinny Prospal collected a goal and assist in win (photo by Jason Mowry courtesy ColumbusWired.net)

R J Umberger scored a hat trick in the win (photo by Jason Mowry courtesy Columbuswired.net)

Coming into Friday’s matchup with one of the NHL’s worst teams in the Blue Jackets, Carolina at 30-29-15, 75 points on the season, are trying to chase down the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference from Buffalo or Washington.

But with only seven games remaining, the defeat was a costly one for the Hurricanes who are 11th in the East race, fell seven points behind the eight spot.

They should’ve known the Blue Jackets have been tough on playoff-caliber teams since Todd Richards took over for the unpopular Scott Arniel on January 9.

R.J. Umberger has had an up-and-down season, but he is one of the team’s most popular players due to the fact that he is an Ohio State hockey product and he gives his all whether the team is winning or losing and he wants to be a part of the franchise when things turn upward.

But March 23 became Umberger’s day with three goals for the second time in his Jackets career, third overall to fuel the team’s 24th win of the season.

Other heroes included Vinny Prospal with a goal and assist, Steve Mason, who has won six of his last eight starts, stopped 39 shots in goal against a good Carolina lineup featuring Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu, Jeff Skinner, Brandon Sutter, Jiri Tlusty and Jussi Jokinen.

Derick Brassard assisted on each of Umberger’s goals, while Nikita Nikitin and Jack Johnson garnered two assists. Johnson also earned his 100th assist of his career.

The key part of the game was the start of the third period when the Blue Jackets killed off a 5-on-3 penalty-kill leading 3-1. The Hurricanes did not score and that was the game.

Carolina goaltender Cam Ward looked lost all night as the Jackets scored five goals on 26 shots.

GAME NOTES

* Columbus has won two of its last three games after dropping the four previous games.

* The hat trick scored by R.J. Umberger was the third this season and 22nd in the franchise’s history. The now-traded and unpopular Jeff Carter had the other two.

* Columbus scored the first goal of the game for the 34th time this season. The team is 18-12-4 in those games. When leading after the first period they are 13-2-1 and 18-6-2 leading after two periods.

* The Blue Jackets are7-6-0 all-time vs. Carolina, 4-2-0 at Nationwide Arena. Overall, the Jackets have won five straight games vs. the Hurricanes.

* Goalie Steve Mason is 4-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage in four games against Carolina.

CAROLINA HURRICANES POST-GAME DRESSING ROOM

50,222 Drayson Bowman Carolina LW The Canes got enough power plays and shots

50,223 Drayson Bowman Carolina LW The game got away from them in the 1st period

50,226 Brandon Sutter Carolina Center Not the way they should be playing trying for playoffs

50,228 Kirk Muller Carolina coach Team looked tired tonight

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS DRESSING ROOM

50,231 R.J. Umberger CBJ center He was in on key 5 on 3 penalty kill to start 3rd period

50,234 R.J. Umberger CBJ center A hat trick is rare, his 2nd as a Blue Jacket

50,236 Todd Richards CBJ coach 5 on 3 PK to start 3rd period was key up 3-1

50,237 Todd Richards CBJ coach This team shows that it could be good at times with a game like this