SAN JOSE -- Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway each scored two goals for the Washington Capitals in a 5-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Tuesday.
John Carlson had a goal and two assists in a 3:01 span in the first period, and Braden Holtby made 23 saves for the Capitals (20-4-5), who have won four games in a row and are 13-2-2 since Oct. 25.
"It's tough to be as complete as we were out there," said Carlson, who reached 40 points (nine goals, 31 assists), becoming the first NHL defenseman to do so in his team's first 29 games since Al MacInnis had 41 for the Calgary Flames in 1990-91.
[WATCH: All Capitals vs. Sharks highlights]
Melker Karlsson and Evander Kane scored for the Sharks (15-13-1), who lost for the first time in three games and second in their past seven. Martin Jones allowed five goals on 23 shots before being relieved to start the third period by Aaron Dell, who made five saves.
"Disappointing," Jones said. "We were a little flat. We just didn't have the jump."
San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said: "We've got to be better. That's the best team in the League, or one of the top two teams in the League, and you've got to bring your best game to beat them. I liked our start."
Hathaway scored his second of the night at 2:31 of the second period to give Washington a 4-1 lead before Vrana made it 5-1 at 16:15 with his second.
"We got the start we wanted even though they scored first," Capitals forward Carl Hagelin said. "Momentum shifts are a big thing in this game, and we're real good at turning the momentum around. Our team doesn't get too high or too low, so sticking to a game plan really works for us."
Video: WSH@SJS: Hathaway sweeps up own rebound
Karlsson scored at 2:33 of the first period to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
"First 10 minutes were good," San Jose defenseman Radim Simek said. "Then I don't know what happened. Maybe we played a little too soft on them."
Hathaway tied it 1-1 at 13:31 when he redirected Carlson's shot from the point.
Vrana made it 2-1 at 14:24 when he scored on his own rebound after a pass from Carlson to the top of the crease.
Video: WSH@SJS: Vrana cleans up own rebound in front
Carlson scored with a slap shot from above the right face-off circle to make it 3-1 at 16:32.
"We talked about getting a good start especially after having several days off," said Carlson, who has 12 multipoint games this season, including six with three. "We had a good game plan, and it's always nice to see the puck go in, but whoever is scoring, it's good for me."
Kane scored at 13:07 of the third period to make it 5-2. He received a game misconduct and a major penalty for elbowing Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas at 14:59.
Washington, which was not called for a penalty in the game, went 0-for-2 on the power play.
"We didn't execute in the defensive zone," Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "They're going to make you pay for your mistakes, and we got what we deserved."
They said it
"I'm happy to see those guys get rewarded. They really set the tone for our team, and everyone just kind of hops on board with their work ethic and compete, and we build from there." -- Capitals coach Todd Reirden on forward Garnet Hathaway's two goals playing on the fourth line with Nic Dowd and Brendan Leipsic
"I thought we pushed back and played more of our game in the third period, but too little, too late." -- Sharks coach Peter DeBoer
Need to know
Carlson is the first NHL defenseman with 30 assists through 29 games since Brian Leetch for the New York Rangers in 2000-01. ... San Jose's Brent Burns became the fourth defenseman in NHL history to play in at least 500 consecutive regular-season games. The others are Keith Yandle (823, current), Jay Bouwmeester (737) and Karl Alzner (624). ... Vrana has four goals and three assists during a five-game point streak. ... Hagelin had one shot on goal and a plus-1 rating in 12:21 in his first game since missing 11 with an upper-body injury. ... Capitals forward T.J. Oshie had an assist on Vrana's first goal and has six points (one goal, five assists) in the past three games. ... Sharks forward Tomas Hertl did not play the final 18:36 of the third period for what DeBoer said were precautionary reasons. Hertl sat the final 11:18 of a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 29.
Capitals: At the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, FS-W, NBCSWA, NHL.TV)
Sharks: At the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; FS-CR, NBCSCA, NHL.TV)
Video: Vrana, Hathaway lead Capitals past Sharks