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Blue Jackets power past Sabres 4-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Steve Mason stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season, and Rick Nash and Raffi Torres scored against the NHL's top penalty-killing team, leading the Columbus Blue Jackets past the Buffalo Sabres, 4-0 on Saturday night.

Anton Stralman had a goal and an assist, and Milan Jurcina scored his first for the Blue Jackets while snapping an 87-game goal-less streak. Jake Voracek tied a career high with three assists.

Mason, last season's Calder Trophy winner as the league's rookie of the year, won back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 17 as interim coach Claude Noel ran his record to 2-0.

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Sabres, who still retained first place in the Northeast Division. They came in leading the league against the power play at 87.4 percent.

It was the largest margin of victory by the Blue Jackets all season, and it came before a huge throng of visiting Buffalo fans who swelled attendance to 18,576.

The Blue Jackets were 2 of 6 on the power play while the Sabres failed in five times with a man advantage.

The Blue Jackets did not get on the power play in Noel's head-coaching debut on Thursday but had four opportunities in the second period against Buffalo, finally notching a goal on the very last one.

From the right goal line, Kristian Huselius saw Nash crashing the net and slid a quick backhanded pass. Nash, while being shadowed by mammoth (6-foot-8, 222 pounds) defenseman Tyler Myers, had to dive and stretch forward to get his stick on the puck, jamming it into the net while falling to make it to 2-0.

The first goal was a total fluke. Jurcina, a defenseman acquired along with Chris Clark from Washington for Jason Chimera on Dec. 28, skated to mid-ice early in the second period. Barely across the center line, he dumped the puck into the right corner. It hugged the dasher and goalie Patrick Lalime turned to watch it go behind the net — only it hit a seam in the boards and ricocheted wildly at the goaltender. Before he could react, the puck bounced off his skate and into the net.

The Sabres began the final period on the power play but the teams were at even strength after Jason Pominville was called for a high stick just 36 seconds in.

During the 4 on 4, Voracek battled two Sabres for the puck, with Derick Brassard grabbing it and tossing it out to the point. Stralman's snap shot beat Lalime low on the glove side.

Then on the ensuing power play, Voracek came down the right wing and backhanded a perfect lead pass to Torres for his 17th goal of the year.

The onslaught was similar to the last time the teams met. Lalime was victimized at Buffalo a year ago and was chased in the third period in what became a 6-1 Blue Jackets victory.

NOTES: Nash has hit the 25-goal mark for the sixth straight season. ... The Sabres, playing their third game in four days, are just 2-7-1 since Jan. 19. ... They have also lost their last four road games. ... Columbus improved to 7-2-1 in the series with Buffalo, including 3-0-1 at home. ... The Blue Jackets had alternated wins and losses in their previous 10 games before winning their second in a row.