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Huselius, Mason help Blue Jackets edge Canadiens

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- An injury to Pascal Leclaire has

opened the door for rookie Steve Mason, and he has seized the


Kristian Huselius and rookie Derick Brassard scored in the

shootout and Mason stopped both shots he faced as the Columbus

Blue Jackets posted a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on


R.J. Umberger netted his fifth goal in four games for Columbus,

which denied Montreal its first five-game road winning streak in

nearly 11 years. Defenseman Marc Methot and Fredrik Modin also

tallied in regulation for the Blue Jackets.

Making his second career start, the 20-year-old Mason helped

contain arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference by

stopping 34 shots. The Canadiens had been off to their best

start (8-1-1) since beginning the 1976-77 season with a 9-2-0


Called up from the minors on November 4, Mason has been starting

for Leclaire, who is on injured reserve with an ankle injury.

He won his NHL debut by stopping 22 shots in a 5-4 triumph over

Edmonton on Wednesday and was even better in this one.

"It's definitely pretty exciting," Mason said. "Two wins in two

games. I can't complain about that. Hopefully, this continues

for me, and I'm looking forward to every opportunity I get."

"You are going to need your goalie some nights," Columbus coach

Ken Hitchcock said. "We needed him, and he came up big


Sergei Kostitsyn, Alex Tanguay and blue-liner Patrice Brisebois

netted goals for the Canadiens, who had their three-game winning

streak snapped. Montreal also was attempting to win five

straight road contest for the first time since December 31,

1997-January 12, 1998.

The Canadiens could not get past the mediocre Blue Jackets, who

had been 2-3-2 in their previous seven games.

"We turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and they took

advantage of it," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "And we

had too many penalties and killed the momentum."

Huselius opened the shootout by beating goaltender Jaroslav

Halak with a wrist shot. Tanguay tried to answer, but he lost

control of the puck as he skated in, and Mason stopped it with

his blocker.

"I tried to make a move and just lost the puck," Tanguay said.

"I still got in on goal, but their goalie got a piece of it."

Brassard then put a terrific deke on Halak, faking right and

then slipping a forehand inside the left goalpost. Mason turned

away Andrei Kostitsyn's wrist shot to seal the win.

"I knew which move I wanted to do," Brassard said of his goal.

"When I got the puck, I was going to make another move, then I

said, 'No, no, keep with the same move.'"

Montreal pulled Halak for an extra attacker with 56 seconds left

in regulation in search of the equalizer, and the move paid off.

Sergei Kostitsyn took a pass from his brother Andrei, who fished

the puck from behind the right side of the net. Sergei

Kostitsyn then fired a wrist shot past Mason with 41 seconds


Kostitsyn's goal helped the Canadiens momentarily rebound after

Methot and Modin scored 34 seconds apart early in the third to

give the Blue Jackets a 3-2 edge.

"With that late goal, we thought we had the momentum going into

the overtime," Carbonneau said.

Montreal took a brief 2-1 lead when Brisebois fired a slap shot

from the blue line between the pads of Mason 2:51 into the


However, Methot knotted the game again with a wrist shot from

the right faceoff circle less than three minutes later. Modin

put Columbus in front shortly thereafter, tapping in a perfect

pass from defenseman Fedor Tyutin at the right side of the net

at 5:55.

Halak made 25 saves for the Canadiens, who were 2-for-7 on the

power play.



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