Mason, Blue Jackets stay red hot against Hurricanes

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) — Steve Mason apparently is
over his illness.

Mason delivered another solid effort in net Saturday as the
Columbus Blue Jackets posted yet another win, a 5-1 victory over
the Carolina Hurricanes.

Mason made a successful return from mononucleosis on Friday,
making 32 saves in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The
rookie netminder stopped 26 shots in this one against the
Hurricanes to record his 21st victory of the season.

“We’ve put together a pretty good stretch of hockey,” Mason
said. “I think everybody realizes what’s at stake with the
games left this season. We have to take advantage of it. Every
game is important. The standings, every day they change.”

Kristian Huselius scored two goals and set up another while
defenseman Mike Commodore, R.J. Umberger and Manny Malhotra also
tallied for the Blue Jackets, who extended their winning streak
to a season high-tying four games.

“We came out hard at the beginning,” Commodore said. “Carolina
is an explosive team. They take risks. Their D-men, some of
them are like forwards, so to get one in the first period
quieted the crowd a little bit.”

The win not only extended Columbus’ streak but also was the
first this season for the Blue Jackets on the back end of
back-to-back road games. They were 0-5-3 entering Saturday.

“I thought they did a good job,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock
said. “Our defense and goaltending really held us in. I
thought out defensemen as a group played really well. We had
some timely scoring and our goaltender was really good when we
were making mistakes with the puck out front. He really held us
in there in the second period.”

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Blue-liner Dennis Seidenberg netted the lone goal for Carolina,
which has lost two straight and been outscored, 10-1, in the

“It’s hard to score goals when we don’t get any traffic,”
Seidenberg said. “If you don’t get the puck to the net, you
don’t score.”

Commodore, a former Hurricane, opened the scoring midway through
the first period with his fifth goal of the season. Huselius
converted during a power play in the second period, scoring on
the rebound of a shot by blue-liner Kris Russell at 9:14.

“I have nothing but positive memories from day one of my time in
Carolina,” said Commodore, who was traded to Ottawa in February
2008 before signing with Columbus last summer. “Everything was
great. Obviously, we won a Stanley Cup. Everything was

“At the same time, you like to come back and score a goal
against your old team, it doesn’t matter who it is. Tonight was
a good night.”

Umberger made it 3-0 early in the final session with his 17th
goal of the season. The tally came during a 5-on-3 advantage.

Seidenberg cut the deficit to two with an unassisted goal at
6:29. But Malhotra answered four minutes later and Huselius
capped the win an empty-netter.

Cam Ward made 15 saves for the Hurricanes, who outshot the Blue
Jackets, 27-20.

“We’re not doing enough to score goals,” Carolina coach Paul
Maurice said. “We don’t seem to want to put the puck in the
net. When you’re playing catch-up all the time, it’s very, very