Huselius, Mason help Blue Jackets edge Canadiens

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — An injury to Pascal Leclaire has
opened the door for rookie Steve Mason, and he has seized the

Kristian Huselius and rookie Derick Brassard scored in the
shootout and Mason stopped both shots he faced as the Columbus
Blue Jackets posted a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on

R.J. Umberger netted his fifth goal in four games for Columbus,
which denied Montreal its first five-game road winning streak in
nearly 11 years. Defenseman Marc Methot and Fredrik Modin also
tallied in regulation for the Blue Jackets.

Making his second career start, the 20-year-old Mason helped
contain arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference by
stopping 34 shots. The Canadiens had been off to their best
start (8-1-1) since beginning the 1976-77 season with a 9-2-0

Called up from the minors on November 4, Mason has been starting
for Leclaire, who is on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
He won his NHL debut by stopping 22 shots in a 5-4 triumph over
Edmonton on Wednesday and was even better in this one.

“It’s definitely pretty exciting,” Mason said. “Two wins in two
games. I can’t complain about that. Hopefully, this continues
for me, and I’m looking forward to every opportunity I get.”

“You are going to need your goalie some nights,” Columbus coach
Ken Hitchcock said. “We needed him, and he came up big

Sergei Kostitsyn, Alex Tanguay and blue-liner Patrice Brisebois
netted goals for the Canadiens, who had their three-game winning
streak snapped. Montreal also was attempting to win five
straight road contest for the first time since December 31,
1997-January 12, 1998.

The Canadiens could not get past the mediocre Blue Jackets, who
had been 2-3-2 in their previous seven games.

“We turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and they took
advantage of it,” Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. “And we
had too many penalties and killed the momentum.”

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Huselius opened the shootout by beating goaltender Jaroslav
Halak with a wrist shot. Tanguay tried to answer, but he lost
control of the puck as he skated in, and Mason stopped it with
his blocker.

“I tried to make a move and just lost the puck,” Tanguay said.
“I still got in on goal, but their goalie got a piece of it.”

Brassard then put a terrific deke on Halak, faking right and
then slipping a forehand inside the left goalpost. Mason turned
away Andrei Kostitsyn’s wrist shot to seal the win.

“I knew which move I wanted to do,” Brassard said of his goal.
“When I got the puck, I was going to make another move, then I
said, ‘No, no, keep with the same move.'”

Montreal pulled Halak for an extra attacker with 56 seconds left
in regulation in search of the equalizer, and the move paid off.

Sergei Kostitsyn took a pass from his brother Andrei, who fished
the puck from behind the right side of the net. Sergei
Kostitsyn then fired a wrist shot past Mason with 41 seconds

Kostitsyn’s goal helped the Canadiens momentarily rebound after
Methot and Modin scored 34 seconds apart early in the third to
give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 edge.

“With that late goal, we thought we had the momentum going into
the overtime,” Carbonneau said.

Montreal took a brief 2-1 lead when Brisebois fired a slap shot
from the blue line between the pads of Mason 2:51 into the

However, Methot knotted the game again with a wrist shot from
the right faceoff circle less than three minutes later. Modin
put Columbus in front shortly thereafter, tapping in a perfect
pass from defenseman Fedor Tyutin at the right side of the net
at 5:55.

Halak made 25 saves for the Canadiens, who were 2-for-7 on the
power play.