Nash propels Blue Jackets past Capitals

By Dave Holstein
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) — Captain Rick Nash scored twice and
rookie goaltender Steve Mason made 26 saves as the Columbus Blue
Jackets rolled to a 3-0 triumph over the Washington Capitals on

Raffi Torres also tallied in support of the 20-year-old Mason,
who turned aside eight shots in the first period, eight in the
second and 10 in the third to secure his second shutout of the

“(Mason) was good,” Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He has
been good for a little while now. If Mason continues to play
like this, the way the standings are and how valuable points
are, we’ve got to play him. We’ve got to play him quite a bit.”

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the first time
in his last 11 games. The defending Hart Trophy winner entered
with a 10-game points streak, recording 11 goals and 11 assists
in that span.

“I thought the Blue Jackets played a really good game,”
Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They came out, got the
lead and never stopped. They were solid defensively and took
advantage of their chances.”

The Capitals’ season-high losing streak on the road was extended
to four games. It was also only the second time this season
that they have been blanked.

“Just score the goals,” Ovechkin said. “That’s the difference;
we don’t score the goals on the road like we do at home. We had
lots of chances tonight in the second period when we have the
power play. I had a couple of chances but just couldn’t score
the goal.”

In the first period, Torres opened the scoring with his first
goal of the season and his first as a member of the Blue
Jackets. He was traded from Edmonton to Columbus on July 1 for
Gilbert Brule. Torres missed most of last season and the first
10 games of this season due to injuries. His last goal was on
December 2, 2007.

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“It’s good to finally get a goal,” Torres said. “Hopefully we
can keep it up.”

Making his eighth start, Mason made a brilliant glove save on
Ovechkin, who blistered a shot from between the faceoff circles
at 8:24 of the second.

“The guys made it really easy to play tonight,” Mason said.
“They were making sure the lanes were open so I could see the
shots. A lot of credit to them. They shut down one of the best
players in the league.”

Nash followed his first goal with 5:16 left in the second. He
received a nice drop pass from center R.J. Umberger and his
blast from the right faceoff circle extended Columbus’ lead to

“I thought Nash was great,” Hitchcock said. “He knew the
challenge. He wanted us to have the feeling that with all the
work we’ve put in, we we’re going to be rewarded for it.”

His second goal of the night came shorthanded as he took a
deflection and skated in on Capitals goalie Brent Johnson before
converting a backhander with 6:23 left in the third.

“I screwed up on the second one,” Johnson said. “I made him do
exactly what I wanted to do. I poke-checked and he went to the
one side and I thought I was there, and he was able to slide it
through my pads.”

Johnson made 28 saves for the Capitals.

The Capitals were playing without at least eight regulars due to
injury including defenseman Mike Green and Alexander Semin, who
is among the league leaders in points and goals.