The first hat trick of Devin Setoguchi's career gave the Sharks exactly what they needed Saturday night: A victory that didn't go down to the wire.

With two goals in the first period and one with 1:22 left in the game, Setoguchi led the Sharks to a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Ryane Clowe provided the other tally, and goalie Antti Niemi made 25 saves to earn his fifth shutout of the season.

"I think I've had 12, maybe 13 two-goal games, and it always sits in the back of your mind. But it feels good to get the first one," Setoguchi said of the accomplishment that came in his 246th NHL game.

He was wearing a new cap as he spoke, but the right wing said it was one that, coincidentally, had been handed out to every player on the team that night -- not one of the dozens that came flying from the capacity crowd that chanted his name, staccato-style in the final seconds.

Setoguchi, who struggled with only two goals in his first 22 games, how has eight in his last 12. He attributed part of that to increased confidence but wanted to look at the hat trick in a broader context.

"It feels good to contribute, but at the same time you've got to keep going," he said. "One game doesn't make you a good hockey player or a good goal scorer. You've got to keep doing it."

The victory, which moved the Sharks into sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference, marked the first time since Dec. 2 that San Jose won a game by more than two goals. While coach Todd McLellan certainly hasn't been complaining about his team's current 12-2-1 run, he has suggested it would be nice to avoid nail-biting tension in the final seconds.

The game also marked defenseman Ian White's debut as a Shark. Acquired Friday from the Carolina Hurricanes, White earned an assist on Setoguchi's second goal, played 18:08 paired with Niclas Wallin, and frequently jumped into the offense.