Mason stymies Sharks, 3-0

Published February 10, 2010

| AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Steve Mason made 40 saves for his second shutout in three games since a coaching change and the Columbus Blue Jackets beat San Jose 3-0 on Wednesday night, ending the Sharks' road winning streak at nine games.

With the victory, interim Blue Jackets coach Claude Noel improved to 3-0 since taking over for the fired Ken Hitchcock on Feb. 3.

Rick Nash scored his 26th goal, Jake Voracek ended a long scoring drought, and Antoine Vermette added an empty-netter for the Blue Jackets.

The shutout was Mason's fourth of the season and raised his franchise record to 14. He led the league in shutouts as a rookie a year ago with 10, but has been near the bottom in goaltending stats for most of this season. He has stopped 90 of 91 shots he's faced in the Blue Jackets' three-game winning streak.

In the only game with Noel behind the bench that Mason didn't have a shutout, he didn't allow a goal until there were just 46 seconds left in a 2-1 victory over Dallas.

Voracek broke a 26-game goal drought when he made it 2-0 at 8:40 of the second period. A 2-on-1 rush began when a San Jose pass went off Raffi Torres' skate and ricocheted to mid-ice. Derick Brassard feathered a pass that got through defenseman Kent Huskins and right to Voracek, who faked and then slid the puck between goaltender Thomas Griess' leg pads. Voracek's last goal had come on Dec. 14.

The Blue Jackets, who came in just 8-6-3 when leading after a period, grabbed a 1-0 lead on Nash's goal. While Kristian Huselius carried the puck to the right dot, Nash battled for position in a physical struggle with defenseman Douglas Murray at the left doorstep. Nash won out, just in time to drop his stick on the ice as Huselius pinpointed a pass that Nash simply had to redirect in.

Mason was at his best in the third period as the Sharks — with the Western Conference's best record — amped up the pressure. He stopped Ryane Clowe's shot during a wild scrum in which 11 players were piled in front of the net early in the period.

Mason received a standing ovation from a crowd of 15,234 after making a sterling glove save of Huskins' jam shot with 8 minutes left.

Mason added kick saves on shots by Clowe and Dan Boyle and also smothered a blast by Nicklas Wallin in the final minutes to preserve the shutout.

NOTES: The penalty kill units for both teams looked strong throughout. Columbus was 0 for 4 on the power play, and San Jose 0 for 3. ... The Sharks had lost in regulation in only one of their previous 14 games. ... Mason won his third game in a row, a season best. ... San Jose had a three-game winning streak end. ... The Sharks' Dany Heatley had a seven-game points streak end, while Nash extended his to five games.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/02/10/mason-stymies-sharks