COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — Being led by a rookie goaltender has
become old news for the Columbus Blue Jackets. But even with
Steve Mason sidelined, the trend continued.
Dan LaCosta made 31 saves in his second career start and Andrew
Murray snapped a scoreless tie early in the third period as the
Blue Jackets posted a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on
Jason Williams and Fredrik Modin also tallied and defenseman Jan
Hejda recorded two assists for Columbus, which has won two in a
row following a three-game losing streak.
Recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Friday
in the wake of Mason and backup Wade Dubielewicz both suffering
from various ailments, LaCosta turned aside four shots in the
first period, 13 in the second and 14 in the third to post his
first career shutout.
Peter Budaj made 27 saves for the Avalanche, who have lost six
of their last seven meetings with the Blue Jackets.
The 20-year-old Mason has been spectacular in his first season
in the NHL, posting a 19-12-2 record with a league-leading seven
shutouts. The front-runner for the Calder Trophy, Mason also is
tops with a 2.09 goals-against average and ranks sixth with a
.923 save percentage.
However, Columbus’ third-round pick in 2006 was placed on
injured reserve with mononucleosis on Saturday. Dubielewicz,
meanwhile, has been battling the flu this week.
Considering his goaltending situation, Blue Jackets coach Ken
Hitchcock was forced to start the 22-year-old LaCosta again,
just three nights after he made 28 saves in a 3-2 overtime win
over the Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks.
LaCosta was not tested early in this contest, as Columbus
outshot Colorado, 16-4, in the first period.
Budaj was just as impressive throughout the first 40 minutes of
play but fizzled in the final period as the Avalanche were
handed their second straight loss.
Murray gave LaCosta all the support he needed 2:29 into the
third, firing a wrist shot past Budaj from the doorstep.
Williams doubled the advantage at 9:43 by wristing the puck by
Budaj from the right faceoff circle. Modin secured Columbus’
first season-series sweep of Colorado by deflecting in Hejda’s
shot while positioned in front of the crease with 7:44 left.