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Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Carolina Hurricanes 0 FINAL @NHLdotcom

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Rick Nash didn't waste a minute in disposing of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The sophomore left wing scored a power-play goal just 1:12 in Tuesday night to spark the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-0 win over Carolina _ their first defeat of the Hurricanes in more than three years.

``He's got talent, he's got size and great hands. You could see that last year and he's just picked it up this year,'' Carolina captain Ron Francis said. ``He's going to score a lot of goals and be in this league a long time.''

Marc Denis stopped 25 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the season and 13th of his career.

It was only the second time in team history that Columbus has beaten Carolina. The first was a 3-1 victory in the first meeting between the clubs on Dec. 29, 2000; the Hurricanes won four subsequent games.

Nash's unassisted goal put him in first place in the NHL for power-play goals with 16 and tied the Blue Jackets' single-season record of 34 goals, set last season by Geoff Sanderson.

He wasn't aware of the statistics, but he easily saw the effect on the Hurricanes.

``It stopped their momentum,'' Nash said. ``We had the bounces tonight. Usually it always goes the other way against us, so it's kind of nice to get that.''

With Carolina's Glen Wesley serving an interference penalty, Nash grabbed the loose puck in an open spot between the circles and flipped it over Kevin Weekes' shoulder.

``We had three chances to get the puck out, and we failed all three times. We didn't execute and we got beat by it,'' Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. ``The whole thing for me is the way you play the game. Usually you get the results that way. Tonight we got what we deserved.''

Trevor Letowski tipped in Jaroslav Spacek's pass from the corner with a minute and a half left in the period to make it 2-0.

Manny Malhotra added the third goal at 17:31 of the second period. Alexander Svitov set up the play, drawing defenders and Weekes to the far right. He sent a pass through traffic to Nikolai Zherdev, who moved the puck to Malhotra on the open side.

Carolina's forwards were frustrated several times by Denis.

He made a glove save on a hard wrist shot in the first period from Sean Hill, set up by Eric Cole from the side of the net. In the second, Cole broke into the Columbus zone and fired a sharp-angle shot that got past Denis but hit the far post. And with two minutes to go, he had a pad save on Hill's slap shot, letting up a slow rebound that Rod Brind'Amour scooped into the net _ but after the whistle had blown.

Denis credited the Blue Jackets defense with cutting off most of Carolina's opportunities.

``The shots they got were mostly from the outside, and our guys did an outstanding job on the rebound control at the end there,'' he said.

Weekes had 14 saves.

It's only the second time this season the Blue Jackets _ next-to-last in the Western Conference _ have won three in a row. They beat the New York Rangers, Vancouver and Chicago in their second, third and fourth games.

``It's big,'' Nash said. ``We've been having trouble on the road, and we've had trouble trying to get momentum this year. Too bad it's kind of too late. Still, it's nice to get the win. We go in places and we're the spoiler now.''

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