Carlson’s 3 Points in 1st Lead Capitals past Sharks 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — John Carlson had a goal and two assists in the opening period to reach 40 points for the season, Nick Hathaway and Jakub Vrana each scored twice and the Washington Capitals beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 on Tuesday night.

John Carlson Washington Capitals
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Carlson had a hand in all three Washington goals during a span of 3:01 in the first period that put the Capitals in control in the opener of their three-game California swing. He assisted on the first goal of the game for both Hathaway and Vrana and then scored his own, giving him nine goals and 31 assists through 29 games this season.

Carlson joined Bobby Orr and Al MacInnis as the only defencemen in the expansion era to reach 40 points in the first 30 games of a season.

Braden Holtby made 23 saves for Washington.

Melker Karlsson opened the scoring for San Jose, but the Sharks did little else until Evander Kane scored in the third period to cut the deficit to 5-2. Martin Jones allowed five goals on 22 shots before being replaced by Aaron Dell after two periods. San Jose lost for just the third time in 14 games.

Kane later got a major penalty and a game misconduct for elbowing Radko Gudas.

The Capitals erased their early deficit with a scoring spree late in the first period, starting when Carlson’s point shot deflected off Hathaway and in for the equalizer.

Just 53 seconds later, Vrana redirected a shot from Carlson off the post and knocked in his own rebound to make it 2-1.

Jakub Vrana Washington Capitals
Jakub Vrana, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A little more than two minutes after that, Carlson got a goal of his own when he beat Jones to the short side with a shot from the top of the circle.

Hathaway and Vrana added goals in the second period and the Capitals rolled to their fifth victory in their last seven trips to San Jose after going more than 20 years without a win at the Shark Tank.

NOTES: Capitals forward Carl Hagelin (upper body) returned after missing 11 games. … Sharks D Brent Burns became the fourth defenceman to play in 500 consecutive games, joining Keith Yandle (823), Jay Bouwmeester (737) and Karl Alzner (624). … Patrick Marleau played his 1,518th game with San Jose, tying Boston’s Ray Bourque for fifth-most with one team.


Capitals: Visit the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Sharks: Visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.


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Josh Dubow, The Associated Press