Nash hits assist milestone and Blue Jackets edge Wild 4-3 in shootout

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While Rick Nash scored in the shootout and had two assists to set another franchise milestone, goalie Steve Mason came up big and helped Columbus get a needed win.

Mason, making his first start since Dec. 16 after getting pulled in three of his past four starts, stopped 37 shots to lift the Blue Jackets past the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Monday night.

Columbus, which entered in a 3-9-3 skid, needs Mason to regain his form of two seasons ago when he was the league rookie of the year.

“Steve gave us a chance to win,” Columbus coach Scott Arniel said of Mason who won for only the second time since Nov. 22. “He made some stops in the shootout and overtime. He made some stops early in the game and in the penalty situation in the second period. Hopefully, confidence-wise, it’s a good jolt for him.”

Derick Brassard, Fedor Tyutin and Andrew Murray also scored for Columbus, which scored twice in 41 seconds to take the lead in the third period.

Kyle Wilson and Kristian Huselius also scored in the shootout.

“We really needed this one and the guys really came through in the shootout,” Mason said. “It doesn’t happen too often that guys score three straight goals.”

Nash now has 206 assists, surpassing David Vyborny for the franchise mark. He is also the club leader in goals (244) and points (450).

Chuck Kobasew had a goal and assist, and Mikko Koivu and Cal Clutterbuck, who pulled the Wild even in the third, also scored for Minnesota, which has lost two in a row after a three-game winning streak.

Marek Zidlicky added two assists for the Wild, who finished 0 for 7 on the power play.

“I thought our power play let us down tonight,” Minnesota coach Todd Richards. “We had a chance to go up by two or three goals with the power-play opportunities.”

Jose Theodore, going for his 250th career win, made 19 stops.

Mason allowed the opening goal on Minnesota’s third shot and had to deal with a difficult carom on the tying goal, but was otherwise stellar, gloving a slapshot by Koivu with the overtime winding down.

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“After having the first go in, I just tried to bear down and make sure to keep it out as long as possible,” Mason said. “And for myself, it’s a big win, but for the team, it’s an even bigger win.”

Down 2-1 entering the third period after Koivu’s goal with two seconds left in the second period, the Blue Jackets quickly took the lead.

Tyutin hammered a slapshot from the top of the left circle to tie it with his second goal at 6:54.

Murray also got his second, jamming home a wraparound shot from behind the net off Theodore’s right skate at 7:35.

Just past the midpoint of the period, Huselius cut in on a breakaway but couldn’t corral a bouncing puck. He curled around to the other side, finding Kris Russell all alone for a shot that Theodore pushed aside.

Minnesota went the other way and the puck came off the endboards, leaving a gaping area behind Mason for Clutterbuck to poke home his 10th goal at 11:38.

Kobasew pounced on a rebound in front and got his fourth goal at 2:59 of the first period.

Starting early in the second period, the Wild couldn’t capitalize on multiple power-play chances, but instead, it was the Blue Jackets who tied the game.

Huselius chased down a loose puck deep in the Minnesota zone and centred a pass to Brassard at the left circle. He blasted his ninth over Theodore at 9:16.

Late in the period, Antti Miettinen outmuscled Jan Hejda on the forecheck, circled behind the net and zipped a cross-ice pass to Koivu alone at the right circle. Koivu sent a low shot past Mason for his eighth goal at 19:58 of the second.

“We’ve had a tough time recently but we found a way to scramble back,” Arniel said. “It wasn’t the prettiest of games. It had a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs, but at the end of the day we got the two points and that is what we needed.”

NOTES: The Blue Jackets didn’t have any power-play chances. … The Blue Jackets entered with a home record of 9-9-1, third worst in the Western Conference.