Mason posts seventh shutout as Blue Jackets blank Senators

By Dave Holstein
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — Steve Mason made 18 saves en route to
his league-leading seventh shutout of the season and fellow
rookie Jakub Voracek scored the lone goal as the Columbus Blue
Jackets continued their dominance of the Eastern Conference with
a 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Friday.

The favorite to win the Calder Trophy this season, Mason turned
aside eight shots in both the first and third periods while
needing to make just two saves in the middle session to improve
to 7-1-0 with five blankings against teams from the East.

“The most important thing for me is getting into playoff
position,” Mason said. “We did that tonight, and we just want
to keep moving forward with it. Shutouts are nice to get on a
personal note, but they don’t really mean anything in the end.”

After a scoreless first period, Columbus got on the board early
in the second. Voracek notched his eighth goal of the season
just three seconds after an Ottawa penalty had expired.

Michael Peca fired a slap shot from the left point that was
redirected by Voracek past goaltender Alex Auld at 3:55 of the
middle session, giving Mason all the support he needed.

“I was a little bit lucky,” Voracek said. “Michael Peca hit me
in front of the net, but I’ll take it. It’s a big two points
for us.”

“Jake was great tonight,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said.
“He played really well.”

Auld, who was making his first start since January 6, made 24
saves. He fell to 0-6-2 since December 6.

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“I felt good,” Auld said. “Tonight, I just wanted to focus on a
good start and do things right. It’s tough to play that well
and not end up with the win. Even as a team, I thought we
played well.”

“Alex was really good,” said Ottawa coach Craig Hartsburg, whose
team kept Columbus scoreless on six power-play chances. “He was
outstanding, and your best penalty-killer has to be your goalie.
He made some big saves early in the hockey game to give us a

The 20-year-old Mason preserved the lead with two spectacular
saves late in the third period with his club shorthanded.

First, he went from goalpost to goalpost to make a sliding stop
on defenseman Alexandre Picard. On the same power play, Mason
again robbed Picard with a glove save to secure the victory for
Columbus, which raised its record to 8-2-1 against the East.

“Mase had to make three big saves in the third period,”
Hitchcock said. “He’s a good hockey player. You just have to
accept the fact that you have a hammer.”

The Senators went 0-for-5 with the man advantage, including
three opportunities in the final session.

“Against that team, you are not going to create a lot of scoring
chances,” Hartsburg said. “But in the third, we did have a
couple of quality ones. That’s what it comes down to against
Columbus – you have to score on your chances because you aren’t
going to get many.”